Premier League club Hull City will have to wait until next season to reapply to change their name to Hull Tigers after a Football Association Council blocked its move to change identity in April 2014.
An original FA ruling had rejected an application by Hull to change its playing name, but an independent panel has now “set aside” that decision and created an opening for the club to try again.
Hull, in a statement, claimed the process that led to the FA decision was flawed, saying they could “confirm winning the arbitration case against the FA, having proved successfully that the process adopted by the FA was unfair and biased”.
The club statement continued: “The arbitration panel ruled unanimously in the club’s favour, setting the FA’s decision aside, effectively leaving the club’s original application unanswered.
“The ball is now in the FA’s possession, with the club seeking clarification on how the FA will proceed in a fair and unbiased manner.”
The independent panel found that the original FA ruling had dwelled excessively on objection from supporters.
A tribunal statement said: “We have concluded that the decision of the council cannot stand. We set it aside.
“At this stage of the season, it would be impractical and wholly inappropriate to direct the association to make a fresh decision to take effect during the current season.
“The club is free to make a new application.”
Hull owner Assem Allam has said he would not continue to invest in the club if the name change was rejected.
The 75-year-old businessman took over Hull in 2010, saving the club from a treacherous financial position.
Hull won promotion to the Premier League in 2013 and Allam believes a change to Hull Tigers would help the club “go global”.
The tribunal is also placing the influence of Football Supporters’ Federation chairman Malcolm Clarke- a member of the FA Council and its membership committee- on the FA decision under the microscope.
It references a 19-page report produced by the membership committee looking at the name change, which found the club’s case “neither strong nor compelling”.
That report was presented to the FA Council, and the tribunal said: “It would have taken a strong council to reject it. The decision of the committee obviously had a powerful causative effect on the decision of the council.”
But Clarke failed to declare an interest at the membership committee stage – despite his “bias”, the tribunal argues.
Curled from the BBC Sport