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SBD Global/April 8, 2014/Franchises

Fans Of EPL Side Hull City Back Tigers Rebrand, But Voting Corruption Alleged

Hull City Owner Assem Allam is seeking to rebrand the club as Hull Tigers.
EPL side Hull City Owner Assem Allam "has achieved a hollow victory in his quest to change the club's name to Hull Tigers after a narrow majority backed the proposal in a ballot of season-ticket holders," according to Richard Gibson of the London GUARDIAN. Although 2,565 supporters backed "Yes to Hull Tigers with the Allam family continuing to lead the club," according to the club's website, only 48 fewer voted "No to Hull Tigers," while a further 792 opted for "I am not too concerned and will continue to support the club either way." A club statement read, "The ballots were counted independently by Bristol-based company Beyond Dispute, who have worked as independent adjudicators on several votes for the BBC and ITV." Hull has "portrayed the statistics positively," yet 60% of voters "failed to respond and critics of the poll were upset that the name change and continued support of the club hierarchy were inextricably linked." Of the eligible voters, only 17% "backed the change" (GUARDIAN, 4/7). The BBC reported the FA will decide on the proposals when its council meets on Wednesday, though its membership committee "has already made a recommendation to reject the plans" (BBC, 4/7).

VOTING CORRUPTION ALLEGED: In London, Ben Rumsby reported doubt "was cast on the validity of Hull’s poll even before the results were published." Campaign group City Til We Die accused Allam of "blackmailing fans by vowing to walk away from the club if they rebelled." The ballot form itself "reinforced that message," while campaign group City Til We Die on Monday night claimed “large swathes” of season-ticket holders failed to receive it electronically and “hundreds” saw their responses "wiped by a glitch upon submitting them" (TELEGRAPH, 4/7).
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