After a prolonged legal battle lasting almost 5 years the ‘Kult’ German club FC St. Pauli have won back the rights to the famous skull and crossbones logo.
The club sold 90% of the merchandising rights to its logo to their marketing partners Upsolut Merchandising while fighting against bankruptcy back in 2004, and while successful in battling against bankruptcy they have been unsuccessful up until now in reclaiming the marketing rights.
Legal proceedings began back in 2009 to reclaim the rights. However a settlement has now been reached with the club paying 1.3 million Euros to regain the rights. The Hamburg based club will regain full control of merchandising from 1 January 2016.
The Guardian reports that the agreement – described by president Oke Göttlich as “a milestone, a big step for our independence” – will provide a significant new revenue stream for the club, and will hopefully strengthen the club’s ambitions of regaining a place in the Bundesliga, a feat they have not managed since being relegated in 2009.
The skull logo was first adopted by fans as an unofficial emblem during St Pauli’s mid-1980s transformation into an anti-establishment “Kult” club – based on left-leaning politics, anti-fascism and social activism.
The club, now managed by Ewald Lienen, is one of the most widely recognised in world football. They currently sit in 3rd place in the Bundesliga 2, three points off SC Freiburg who are top of the table on goal difference from Red Bull Leipzig.
Their home ground, the Millerntor Stadion, was refurbished and completed just in time for the beginning of this season and the club now attracts an average home attendance of around 29,000.
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