Monday, April 20, 2015

Tempest in a (Scottish) Teapot

In an April 18, 2015 article entitled "Call to arms over threat to Scottish club badges" on the website of The Scotsman, reporter Colin Telford "warns that many Scottish football emblems could actually be illegal."

It seems that last July, Airdrieonians Football Club received a letter from the Lord Lyon's Procurator Fiscal (a public prosecutor specially assigned to the Lyon Court) informing the club that its badge had been deemed to be "an heraldic device". This was the start of a chain of correspondence which ultimately required the club to sign an irrevocable undertaking that it would cease to use its badge from 1 September 2015.

But the real issue here is not just about Airdrie. The ruling also applies to the majority of Scotland's senior football clubs, as well as rugby clubs, golf clubs, schools and other such organisations.

In other words, there's a whole lot of sports clubs and organizations which have been using arms or arms-like logos which have not been registered with the Lyon Court's Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland, and are therefore technically being used illegally.

This has, of course, stirred up quite a bit of controversy, as well as comments from a number of individuals who have no knowledge nor understanding of the functions of the Lord Lyon King of Arms.  The number of comments to this article which speak of Scotland being a "democracy" (as if that has anything at all to do with the law as it stands in Scotland) or dragging that "pompous old windbag" (the Lord Lyon) "into the 18th century never mind the 21st."

There are, fortunately, a few cooler heads also involved in the discussions, who note that all of these clubs are "virtuous and well deserving" under the Lyon King of Arms 1672 Act, and that they "should take up the opportunity to be recognised as part of Scotland's proud heraldic tradition. "

It's an interesting article, giving some background of the controversy, the Lyon Court, and some of the rules that heraldry, or arms-like logos, must abide by in Scotland.  And, of course, the comments are an amusing mix, too.

You can find the complete article, and commentary, on the website of The Scotsman at

1 comment:

  1. I am baffled by this row. Football clubs are happy to pay silly wages to players and managers and pay whatever fees are needed to obey the law in all other but they can't find the money for this.
    Andrew Nicoll