A police charity has been told it cannot sponsor an under 15s football team because it have the word ‘Firearms’ in their title.
The Police Firearms Officers’ Association (PFOA) wanted to provide a new kit for Chatteris FC’s youth side in Cambridgeshire.
But the deal was vetoed when Football Association (FA) officials deemed that having ‘firearms’ on the shirts would be inappropriate and a breach of its strict advertising rules.
The PFOA was told they had fallen foul of Rule 8(a) of the FA’s sponsorship guidelines, which states: "The appearance on or incorporation in any item of Clothing, Football Boots or Other Equipment of any reference whatsoever to a product, service or other activity which is considered by The Association as detrimental to the welfare, health or general interest of young persons, or is otherwise considered inappropriate, having regard to the age of the players, is prohibited.”
The PFOA, which was set up in 2008, to support all those involved in firearms operations, and their families, said they were baffled as to why their name breached the rules.
A registered charity, the organisation also helps to educate young people about the dangers of firearms.
Mark Williams, chief executive of the PFOA said: "I really can’t understand this decision, it is baffling. We are a charity and as part of what we do, we work with young people to educate and inform them about the dangers of guns and other weapons.
"Our headquarters are in Chatteris and that is where we have our museum so we thought it would be a good gesture to help out the local youth side and put something back into the local community. But now unfortunately the team are left scrabbling round to find a new sponsor.
"I can understand why the FA might object to having alcohol or tobacco firms sponsoring a football team, particularly a youth side, but we are a charity who is in existence to help and support people.
"We were told the objection was to the word ‘firearms’ but we are not advertising guns – the very opposite in fact.
"Princess Anne has visited our museum and has praised our work and yet we are not appropriate to sponsor a youth football team."
The decision was taken by the Cambridgeshire branch of the Football Association – which is the governing body for the national sport.
A spokesman said: "We were approached by a club asking about the suitability of a sponsor. All sponsorship of U18 teams must satisfy The FA Kit and Advertising regulation 8(a).
“With the information presented to us at the time of decision making it was deemed that the proposed sponsorship was not in line with this regulation.
“Our commercial approach as a County is to follow the Environmental, Social, and Governance guidelines and we will seek to work with partners who fit with the ethos of Cambridgeshire FA and would encourage clubs to do the same.”