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Wembley FC 'face bankruptcy' following action from the FA

Wembley FC chairman, Brian Gumm, says they may be bankrupted because of a trademark dispute with the Football Association over the club's logo.

Gumm claims he is being "railroaded" after the European Union's Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) ruled in the FA's favour.

English football's governing body had complained that Wembley FC's badge may be confused with Wembley Stadium. The FA said they must act to enforce their intellectual property.

But Gumm told BBC Radio London: "We'd have to change our logo through the whole club and it would cost us an absolute fortune."

An FA statement said they "take the enforcement of our intellectual property seriously and only take action as a last resort when an amicable resolution does not seem possible".

Wembley FC's current crest, a lion's head on a shield beneath the word Wembley, was registered in 2012 when the club updated their badge after they agreed a sponsorship deal with Budweiser.

Former England inter­nati­onals Martin Keown and David Seaman joined Wembley FC for FA Cup matches in 2012 alongside former England boss Terry Venables as part of Budweiser's sponsorship of the club

When Budweiser's agreement with Wembley FC finished, the rights to the trademark were passed to the club.

However, Wembley National Stadium Limited (WNSL), which runs the national stadium and is a subsidiary of the FA, applied to the EUIPO to cancel Wembley FC's European trademark.

EUIPO ruled in favour of WNSL in July, stating that the English-speaking public could confuse the club with the stadium. It said that although there were "a number of visual differences" in the logos, the use of the word Wembley in both meant there was still "a likelihood of confusion".

Wembley FC were formed in 1946, and Gumm believes the start of the north London club's history predates the name being used for the national stadium.

"We've always been Wembley, and Wembley Stadium was [originally] called the Empire Stadium," he said.

"We've been living by the side of Wembley [Stadium] for 70 years and we've never had any confusion. I've never seen 10,000 people coming to our games if there is an England game on."

Gumm said "We can't even afford to put in an appeal. It will bankrupt the club because we can't afford to change all our signage and kit."

JC

Posted in Club news, Company news and tagged Wembley FC, non-league, The FA, Wembley Stadium on