A north-east football club could be facing a £30,000 financial penalty – for using Scotland’s lion rampant and saltire on its badge.
The traditional Scottish emblems are proudly displayed on Highland League side Formartine United FC’s pavilion on the outskirts of Pitmedden.
They are also used on every item of kit issued to the club’s youth and adult teams.
“It has been since the club was formed 60 years ago at Udny Station,” said club chairman Atholl Cadger, from Tarbothill, Murcar.
He said the club was now taking legal advice over a warning from Scotland’s heraldic authority, the Edinburgh-based Court of the Lord Lyon King at Arms.
Formartine United has carried out more than £150,000 worth of improvements to its ground in recent years while its traditional crest has continued to show a shield featuring panels with the saltire and lion rampant above the motto Sans Peur, French for “without fear”.
But yesterday, Mr Cadger said the club had real fears of facing a potential bill of thousands of pounds to have a new badge created and approved by the Register of Arms.
“I have no idea who complained about our badge,” he said.
“It seems incredibly petty and the maximum legal fine I believe would be £100 – but it could cost the club over £30,000 to rebrand itself.”
The procurator fiscal to the Court of the Lord Lyon, Alexander Green, said he hoped the issue could be resolved amicably, adding that there had been necessary prosecutions over the past 10 years.
“If we come to the right sort of agreement, then I will allow the club to exhaust their present stocks of merchandise,” he said.
“But just because they have been using the emblem for a length of time does not excuse them from breaking the law.”
Mr Cadger said: “The whole situation is ridiculous.
“There must be clubs of all kind across the length and breadth of the country who drew up their own badges as we did decades ago, with pride in our Scottish national emblems.”
He said the club had teams from under-nines to over-21s wearing the emblem, and replacing every item of kit would be a major blow to Formartine’s funds.
The team forked out £2,500 recently on club cutlery bearing the badge.