Three of Scotland’s top football clubs face the prospect of having to change their historic club crests over a law which regulates the use of coats of arms.
Rangers, Hibernian and Dundee United have found themselves at odds with the Court of the Lord Lyon-the the heraldic authority for Scotland which has the power to prosecute anyone who uses coats of arms without authorisation.
The regulator has recently turned it focus on Scottish football clubs thought to be in breach the law which bans the use heraldic symbols on their crests such as crowns, a lion rampant, the saltire and a town’s coat of arms.
Both Rangers and Dundee united have come under the spotlight for the club’s use of the lion rampant on their badges while Edinburgh-based Hibernian’s crest adorns a coat of arms depiction of a castle on top of a shield.
A number of lower Scottish clubs have already been forced to change their crests in response to the clamp down on the use of the regulated images. Airdionians overhauled their badge last year to avoid legal action and Ayr United will follow suit next season after realising that their badge was breaking the ancient heraldic law.
The Court of the Lord Lyon came to light in 1592 after an Act of the Scottish Parliament gave the Lord Lyon responsibility for prosecuting as a criminal offence anyone who uses unauthorised Arms. The Court even has its own independent Procurator Fiscal.
Supporters group, Supporters Direct Scotland, has called for the legislation to be changed and launched a petition which accumulated over 1,500 signatures however the Scottish Parliament decided not to side with the call to action, leaving a number of top clubs uncertain over the future of their crests.