If, like me, you were watching yesterday's match on line, every now and then the camera would focus on one of our players--and it looked as though the Xtep logo on our shirts was missing--covered up with a plain yellow patch. Yes, it was, and now we find out why.
Seems that a German clothing company, Brax, has a logo that they claim is similar to that of Xtep (it's the bottom right one here) , and they sent a letter to UEFA claiming Xtep had pirated their logo and demanding that Villarreal should not show it. (To me they both look like X's, which I wasn't aware you could copyright, it being a letter of the English language and all; no doubt I have no future as a patent attorney).
Anyhow, UEFA, showing the backbone of a mouse as always faced with such things, ordered Villarreal to cover up the logo on their shirts, which we duly did. You can see the patch on the shirt in the photo accompanying this article. I can't tell that we covered up the logo on our shorts as well, though.
We had the edifying spectacle of Roma and CSKA Moscow ultras lobbing flares at each other during a Champions League tie; the Europa League match between Partizan Belgrade and Tottenham Hotspur featured a banner (in English) proudly displayed by Partizan supporters that managed to be insulting to an ethnic and religious group, as well as women (if you missed it, and want to know what I'm talking about, go here).
UEFA will investigate these matters, to be sure, but will probably do little more than a token fine for the clubs concerned--though I hope for more. Meanwhile, it's good to know that when we played (and practiced) in Borussia Park, the coaching staff and trainers had to cover up their "Pamesa Ceramics" logos on their jerseys. Only players can wear advertising! And the wishes of the UEFA sponsors trump all!!
I am reminded we had Hernan Sanz, the club's Press Officer, on one of our podcasts when we were in the Champions League--and he commented "you basically give UEFA the stadium, and they do what they want". How true.