Football fans left confused by ancient heraldry laws

Football fans left confused by ancient heraldry laws

Football fans have been left confused by archaic heraldry laws that have forced clubs to scrap their crests, The Herald reports.

More than 20 clubs may be in breach of ancient laws, dating back to 1592, if their badges contain elements such as saltires, lions, shields or thistles.

Last year, Ayr United was referred to the Court of the Lord Lyon in a complaint by a rival team who accused it of breaking the law which dates back to the reign of King Charles II. However, it was granted spcial dispensation to keep using the crest until next June.

Other clubs that could suffer under the ancient laws include St Johnstone, Dundee and Hamilton Accies and East Fife.

Football clubs are particularly vulnerable to legal action as rival fans are often more likely to raise the issue with the Lord Lyon.

Airdrieonians Supporters Trust abandoned an attempt to resist changing their club’s badge, realising there was little chance of the law being altered.

Colin Telford, a solicitor and member of the trust, said the underlying law is reserved to Westminster but that the judicial role of the Lord Lyon is devolved.

He said: “The decision to prosecute is taken by the Lord Lyon’s Procurator Fiscal.

“That role is fulfilled by one man in Aberdeen who is firmly of the view that it is in the public interest to prosecute football clubs who are using “unregistered arms”.

“This will continue to affect other clubs, it’s happening with Ayr United and it only takes one letter from a rival fan to see another 20 or so clubs being forced to change or alter their badge.”

And while his judicial functions are devolved, the Scottish government said the Lord Lyon’s role as far as the granting of arms is concerned, which includes granting clubs’ crests, is not devolved.

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