Caterers risk fines over World Cup copyright

09 June 2010 by
Caterers risk fines over World Cup copyright

Caterers should beware of using official 2010 World Cup logos to promote special events during the forthcoming football tournament, as they might risk a hefty fine.

Businesses that are found to be using protected emblems, words or logos by FIFA or the FA could find themselves, at the very least, being asked to stop using them to promote sales or, in the most extreme cases, facing financial penalties amounting to tens of thousands of pounds.

"Hotels, cafés, pubs, retailers, websites and other businesses around Britain will be capitalising on the World Cup by selling all manner of merchandise and services," said Clive Halperin, an intellectual property expert and partner at City law firm GSC.

"However, I would urge any business to check that it is adhering to some of the essential copyright and trademark guidelines and has licences in place. While businesses are within the law to organise campaigns around the event, football authorities, players and clubs are notoriously keen to protect their brands."

Halperin suggests that a disclaimer stating that there is no affiliation with the World Cup or the England team might be one way to avoid legal action. However, this would not be enough to overcome "in-your-face" suggestions of endorsement and will not protect a business from a claim of copyright or trademark infringement.


Wondering how best to cash in on the excitement? We've examined how to generate extra business during the tournament, including plenty of tips to make sure the party goes with a bang whatever the outcome of the matches. Go to



• Refer to the World Cup, as long as there is no suggestion of FIFA involvement or endorsement
• Use national flags such as the St George's cross
• Use photographs of players and stadiums with permission of the copyright owner, but you will need additional permission if there are any suggestions of endorsement or if the photos incorporate club or country logos
• Use photographs of officially licensed merchandise to promote the sale of goods, but you must not give the impression that you are an official sponsor


• Use any FA or FIFA logos or mascots without getting a special licence
• Give any impression that you are an official supplier
• Give any impression that you are being endorsed or recommended by FIFA, the FA or individual players
• Mislead consumers
• Use marketing that is defamatory, eg, by unfairly disparaging a player

World Cup flexible working policies run risk of discrimination claims >>

How to be a World Cup winner >>

Prepare for World Cup absences >>

By Janet Harmer

E-mail your comments to Janet Harmer here.

If you have something to say on this story or anything else join the debate at Table Talk - Caterer's new networking forum. Go to jobs

Looking for a new job? Find your next job here with jobs

[Newsletters For the latest hospitality news, sign up for our e-mail newsletters.
The Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email

Start the working day with The Caterer’s free breakfast briefing email

Sign Up and manage your preferences below

Check mark icon
Thank you

You have successfully signed up for the Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email and will hear from us soon!

As a current holder of the Queen’s Award for Enterprise, Jacobs Media Group extends its condolences on the passing of Queen Elizabeth ll.

Read more.


Ad Blocker detected

We have noticed you are using an adblocker and – although we support freedom of choice – we would like to ask you to enable ads on our site. They are an important revenue source which supports free access of our website's content, especially during the COVID-19 crisis.

trade tracker pixel tracking