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SBD Global/August 12, 2013/Franchises

English Premier League Side Hull City AFC To Be Renamed Hull City Tigers

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Hull City Chair Assem Allam re-registered the club as 'Hull City Tigers Ltd.'
The Premier League is "refusing to endorse Hull City’s controversial name change which has caused outrage among the club’s supporters," according to Colin Young of the London DAILY MAIL. A week before the season's kickoff, and Hull’s return to the top flight, the Tigers Owner & Chair Assem Allam has announced that "he has ditched 'City’ and the 'Association Football Club’ from the official club title and re-registered it as 'Hull City Tigers Ltd.'" Allam, an Egypt-born businessman who has lived, studied and worked in Hull for more than 40 years, "has dropped the City moniker after more than 100 years because he says it is 'common, redundant and irrelevant’ and associated with other clubs in the country." Although he claims his club "will be known as Hull City Tigers for the forthcoming season, which starts with a visit to Chelsea, that is news to Premier League bosses who insist the name Hull City will remain in use." A Premier League spokesperson said, "We have not been informed of a change in the name of the actual club, it is the company name that has changed. They will still be known as Hull City as far as the Premier League is concerned when results or fixtures are published. We understand the move is more to do with their international reputation. If any club wanted to change the club name we would talk to them and see what processes of consultation [with supporters] they had gone through" (DAILY MAIL, 8/9).

BRANDING CHANGE: The BBC reported any references to AFC on club branding "will be phased out, but will remain on the shirt crest during their first season back in the Premier League." Allam "wants to market the club as Hull City Tigers locally and Hull Tigers to national and international audiences." Allam said, "In the commercial world, the shorter the name, the better. The more it can spread quickly. My dislike for the word 'City' is because it is common. I want the club to be special. It is about identity. 'City' is a lousy identity. Hull City Association Football Club is so long" (BBC, 8/9).

MIXED REACTION: The LONDON TIMES wrote Allam bought Hull in '10 following its relegation from the top flight and his investment "is credited with saving the club from a significant financial crisis." Hull City Official Supporters' Club member Bernard Noble said that "he had mixed feelings about the decision." Noble: "My personal opinion is I'm disappointed because I'm a bit of a traditionalist. But this guy saved us from liquidation and administration and it's his club. I will still say 'I'm going to watch City,' 'I'm going to watch the Tigers,' 'I'm going to watch Hull.' I will say that and so will many other people. As far as Hull City Tigers is concerned, the fans -- the 25,000 people who will be there for the first home game against Norwich -- they'll say 'I'm off down to watch City'" (LONDON TIMES, 8/9). In London, Louise Taylor reported Vice Chair Ehab Allam "defended his father's decision." He said, "The identity of the club is the Tigers, the stripes and the colour scheme of amber and black. People still have the right to call it what they want, it's their club -- but we are doing this for commercial reasons" (GUARDIAN, 8/9).
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