Hull owner Allam offers refund over name change

20 November 2013 08:01

Hull City owner Assem Allam says he is adamant that he will change the club's name to Hull Tigers and will refund unhappy fans of the Premier League side if they so wish.

The Egypt-born businessman has changed the company name to Hull City Tigers in order to make the club more marketable, prompting fierce criticism from fans' group City Til We Die.

But Allam insists he will do as he pleases and has offered to give fans their money back if they don't want to continue supporting the team.

"There's no need for a referendum. The crowd we get inside the stadium is the perfect referendum," the 74-year-old told the Daily Mail.

"Fans can choose to vote with their feet. If they are not happy, they can stay away.

"I am also willing to refund any unhappy season ticket holder who wants their money back.

"I understand that fans have purchased or may have purchased season tickets in the expectation they were for Hull City AFC. Having learned the AFC is now not present, they are perfectly entitled to seek a refund.

"The club will be more than happy to oblige by paying them back in full, on a pro rata basis, if they are not happy with the plans to rebrand the club."

But regardless of opposition, Allam said he will not be swayed.

"It's up to me. Nobody in the world will decide for me how I run my companies," he told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"I will never change the colour, I will never change the logo, I will never remove Hull, I will never remove Tigers.

"These words were there for many years. The colour of the club, amber and black, is there. The logo is there. That's for the fans and I will never change this without consulting the fans.

"As for the commercial decisions -- my decision. If it is proved that shortening -- further shortening -- the name by removing 'City' to have 'Hull Tigers' (is beneficial), I will do it."

Asked how he would provide such proof, Allam replied: "By me saying that, and only me. Nobody has the right to ask me how I reach my decision."

In order to change the club's 'playing name', which is separate to the company name, Allam would need to submit an application to the Football Association by April 1 next year.

In a statement, the City Til We Die group said: "Our group has already had extensive contact with key figures at the FA, and we anticipate they will take a dim view both of this announcement and of Dr Allam's rubbishing of our club's proud history at the meeting we had with him last week."

Hull were promoted to the Premier League last year after a three-year absence from the English top flight.

The club's fans hope to avoid a fate similar to that which befell fellow promoted club Cardiff City, whose traditional colours of blue were changed to red in 2012 by Malaysian owner Vincent Tan.

Source: AFP