Early Doors

Golden Balls-up

Early Doors

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Earlier this week, Barcelona's Lionel Messi became the latest star to win the Ballon d'Or, the award voted for by football journalists from around the world for being rather good at the game.

Meanwhile, a small clothing firm in North London is embroiled in a monster legal battle with the people that give the award.

Since 2001, husband and wife team Gus and Inez Bodur have been selling football-based 'fashion' under the name Golden Balls, apparently Gus's nickname for many years, and earlier this year opened their first shop in West Hampstead.

 The company behind the Ballon d'Or (Golden Ball, singular mind), French media giant EPA - which owns France Football magazine as well as the Tour de France, L'Equipe and Le Parisien - did not take too kindly to this and in 2007 started legal proceedings against them using the name, despite it already being registered.

Despite the fact that there are at least seven other similarly named awards gongs around the world, including France and FIFA's very own Golden Award for the best player at a World Cup, the Bodurs have spent the last two years and over £100,000 trying to fight the court action.

Ironically, a large portion of the funds for their fight have come from them licensing their trademarked name to ITV quiz show Golden Balls, which EPA do not seem to have a problem with. In October the Bodurs gave notice that they will be closing their shop in a bid to continue their lengthy and expensive battle.

ED has to be careful with what it says about French media giants, because it wants to continue being paid. However, why the owner of one of the most prestigious awards in all of sport feels threatened by a couple peddling tacky apparel is pretty baffling.

When li'l Leo picks up his award on Sunday, try your best not to get too confused between a glitzy award ceremony in Paris and a little shop on West End Lane, NW6.

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On the subject of fashion, it seems road accidents are all the rage in sport at the moment.

If it's not Carlo Cudicini being sent over the handlebars of his motorbike by a Ford Fiesta (bet he wishes it was a more manly car than that), Atletico Madrid defender Mariano Pernia totalling his car, or Tiger Woods playing road pinball in his SUV, then it's Andrei Shevchenko denting his Porsche.

Sheva has been pictured standing next to his bashed up car scratching his head following a collision with a Honda near the centre of Kiev.

Reports say nobody was hurt in the accident, leaving Chelsea fans free to speculate without gilt on just what he was aiming for when he drove so far off target.

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QUOTE OF THE DAY: "Football is in our culture, in our DNA, it's in us from the moment we are brought into this world, from when we are born and that's something we will always have" - Speaking of Golden Balls, David Beckham, as ground-breaking as ever, reveals the discovery that a nation is comprised of DNA at the launch of a new football boot - the adidas Double Helix. Ok, that last part was made up.


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