The Exeter Chiefs are set to drop their Native American-style logo despite delaying the final decision until next month for further talks.
The club has come under significant pressure in recent months for using indigenous branding on their kit, logo and around their Sandy Park Stadium, despite axing their Big Chief mascot last year.
More than 6,000 people have signed a petition calling for a rebranding of the club and earlier this month America’s largest native organisation, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), wrote to the Premiership outfit calling their current branding “offensive and harmful”.
The controversial issue was discussed in depth during the Premiership club’s annual general meeting last week, after which they ran a poll among their 700-strong membership in order to inform a board decision.
Following the meeting, the club issued the following official statement:
“After consulting and listening in depth to the membership of Exeter Rugby Club at Wednesday’s Annual General Meeting, the Board of Directors will now go away and further consult with its stakeholders, partners and professional advisors to decide what the club will do next in terms of the club’s branding.
“The board will be meeting within the next few weeks to come to a decision.”
But Mail Online reports that “while there was by no means unanimity among the membership, the ‘overwhelming’ view, according to sources, was that ‘they should alter their logo’.”
However, the club will be continue to be known as ‘the Chiefs’ as that has been the name given to the Devon-based side in the 1900s.
Exeter have been referred to as the Chiefs informally for close to 100 years with the nickname adopted because of a tradition of rugby clubs in Devon calling their first teams ‘Chiefs’. It wasn’t until the game turned professional in the 1990s that the club rebranded with the Native American imagery, looking for commercial opportunities.