FIFA threatens legal action against Walking Football World Cup organisers

Football’s governing body FIFA has threatened legal action against Walking Football World Cup organisers, over their name and logos.

Walking Football has been around for less than a decade, but now has around 60,000 registered players in England.

FIFA is concerned that the names and trademarks associated with both the 2021 Walking Football World Cup and the Federation of International Walking Football Associations (FIWFA) have been designed to imitate its own, claiming this could lead to customer confusion.

They also believe the similarity in the name could affect FIFA’s ability to generate sponsorship and could jeopardise future World Cups and other events.

A FIFA statement to Sky Sports News read: “FIFA is the custodian of important trademarks that protect its various brands and ensures significant investments in football development worldwide. If trademarks are not enforced, there is a risk that they can be diluted or weakened.

“There is also the risk of confusion arising among the public as to whether or not different entities are associated with each other.

“We, therefore, do not have any particular comment on this matter other than that, like any trademark owner, FIFA is following standard procedures that are key to protect its brands, competitions and ultimately the investment it makes in football growth all over the globe through its commercial rights.”

The legal threat from FIFA has been described as “ridiculous” by FIWFA’s 65-year-old chief executive Paul Carr.

He said: “We suddenly got an email from Zurich from the guys at FIFA asking us to change our name and change our logo and they gave us seven days to it.

“They just wanted us to accept their demands immediately and it was ridiculous and its clearly something that is not confusing because everyone knows Walking Football is aimed at the over-50s.”

Mr Carr says he will contest any case brought forward by FIFA if needs be.

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Mohit Pasricha

Mohit Pasricha

Solicitor at Mackrell.Solicitors
Mohit is a solicitor and Head of Sports Law at Mackrell.Solicitors, advising and representing clients within the sports sector by providing specialist advice on a wide range of commercial, corporate and intellectual property matters. His clients include clubs, commercial sponsors, sports agents, and individual sporting professionals.