No, it’s not a new far-right “patriotic” splinter group, but the new identity for 72 of England’s football clubs.
The Football League have today announced the new identity and branding by which the second, third and fourth tiers of the English game will soon be recognised.
The English Football League, or EFL as it will be known, was introduced with a video (above) highlighting the new dynamic logo, featuring 72 balls – representing each of the member clubs – segregated into three groups of 24 – representing the three divisions in which they play. Each club will be provided with a unique version of the logo in their own colours.
Introducing the EFL, the Football League’s Chief Executive, Shaun Harvey, said:
The new EFL name rightly emphasises the central role our clubs play at the heart of English professional football.
One wonders how Welsh clubs Cardiff City and Newport County (assuming they survive this season) – and indeed Swansea City if they lose their Premier League status in May – feel about a new emphasis on English football. That said, the Football League were keen to point out that the change of name follows a wide consultation “that included detailed surveys, interviews and focus groups with clubs, stakeholders, commercial partners and more than 18,000 football supporters” and that those consulted “included the Football Association, the Premier League, the Professional Footballers Association, the Football Supporters Federation, the League’s competition sponsors, its broadcast partners and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport”.
Mr Harvey continued:
In an increasingly challenging global sports market, it is absolutely essential that sports properties can project a modern identity that not only resonates with their regular audience but is also easily recognisable to a broader audience of potential fans, viewers and commercial partners.
We believe the EFL name and brand will give our competitions an identity that is new and distinct, while at the same time retaining our unique heritage. As such, it will be something that all fans can identify with – whether they be young or old, at home or abroad.
The current division titles of “Championship”, “League One” and “League Two” will remain under the new brand as, according to Mr Harvey, these “have proven popular with fans since their introduction in 2004.”
The new EFL name does, however, sound ominously like a cross between the United States’ National Football League (more commonly abbreviated to NFL) and the far-right anti-Muslim organisation English Defence League (more commonly abbreviated to EDL) – which, incidentally, partly evolved from football hooliganism.
I’m sure the Football League were fully aware that such a potential confusion might arise when they were considering and consulting on their new identity…