The millions Kenyan midfielder Sven Yidah missed out on by failing to trademark his iconic celebration which has become a global phenomenon


FOOTBALL The millions Kenyan midfielder Sven Yidah missed out on by failing to trademark his iconic celebration which has become a global phenomenon

Mark Kinyanjui 15:30 - 25.02.2024

The Kenyan midfielder's celebration has since been inco-oporated on the popular football video game FC 24 and been used by the likes of Granit Xhaka, Antonio Rudiger and co.

When Sven Yidah celebrated his penalty for Kariobangi Sharks against Everton in a friendly match played at the Kasarani Stadium in 2019, he did not envision that his celebration would end up becoming a global phenomenon.

The celebration was incorporated into the popular video game FC 24 (Formerly FIFA game series) this season after a couple of players started using it in their celebrations.

As recently as last Friday, former Arsenal man Granit Xhaka used it to celebrate his first ever goal for Bayer Leverkusen, who are in a big quest for the Premier League title.

Other players like Antonio Rudiger of Real Madrid have also used it recently, and general gamers often use it in the video game.

Sven, who shot to social media fame after pulling off the actual ‘faking it’ move, plays as a defensive midfielder and has had stints with Nairobi City Stars, Ligi Ndogo SC and South African club Marumo Gallants.

According to his brother Ronny Lusigi, who is also the president of the Esports Kenya Federation, Sven did not receive any compensation for his inclusion in the world’s leading football video game.

Lusigi added that payment in video games typically occurs when someone’s image or likeness is used for a character within the game.

However, had Yidah patented that celebration, he would have earned millions of money for that, considering players like former Wales man Gareth Bale trademarked their iconic celebrations which earned him millions.

In 2013 it was reported that  Bale  successfully trademarked the “Eleven Of Hearts” - a step that earned Welshman more than £10m (app. Ksh 1.9 billion  a year).

Speaking to Wales Online that year, Sion Clwyd Roberts, a media and intellectual property specialist at Cardiff firm Capital Law, said: “Gareth Bale’s had a remarkable year on the pitch and this is a smart move to maximise his potential off the pitch.

“Bale’s profile is such at the moment – not just in Britain, but globally – that it’s somewhat inevitable that his brand assets will be exploited by people looking to make a fast buck through his name and fame.

“His iconic goal celebration has been seen by billions across the world this season, and it’s a canny move to protect this heart shape along with his number 11 as it gives a wider scope to be used across different product ranges.”

Richard Houdmont, the Chartered Institute of Marketing’s director in Wales said that although unusual, licensing the celebration, even if it has been used by other sporting stars, is possible.

He said: “The issue of branding can be complicated. But if you establish that an image or even a sound or movement is synonymous with your company then you have a perfect right to protect that image.

“A good example is Asda who have trademarked the movement of tapping your back pocket, which they use in all their adverts.

“You cannot create an advert with someone tapping their back pocket because Asda has spent millions on building up that iconic image and have subsequently protected it.”

Last year, Rashford reportedly made a move to trademark his celebration, where he makes a gesture of pointing to his brain with his index finger, which has the aim of showing the importance of mental health.

Had Yiah moved to trademark his celebration like Gareth Bale, he would also have become like Bale.