The world football governing body wants The Federation of International Walking Football Associations to choose another to avoid “consumer confusion”.

World football's governing body Fifa has threatened walking football group FIWFA with legal action over its 'similar' name
World football’s governing body Fifa has threatened walking football group FIWFA with legal action over its ‘similar’ nameCredit: Alamy

In a letter, it is demanding non-profit FIWFA also renames its planned “World Cup” in Manchester next year in case it “jeopardises Fifa’s ability to organise future Fifa World Cups”.

FIWFA chiefs were stunned at the requests and accompanying legal threats.

They launched in 2018 for people in their 50s, 60s and 70s — many of them recovering from illness.

Their game is non-contact with no running or offside.

There are 60,000 or so players in England and 53 countries play the game.

FIWFA chief exec Paul Carr, 65, who plays for Wigan Walkers, said: “The bullying nature of Fifa’s letter was staggering.

“We’ve no intention to be like Fifa and we’ve never experienced any confusion.

“I don’t expect fans to be flying in expecting to see Ronaldo and Messi at our next event. We’re not wealthy like Fifa yet we’re in a position where we have to fight this or fold to it.”

There are 60,000 or so players in England and 53 countries play the game.

FIWFA chief exec Paul Carr, 65, who plays for Wigan Walkers, said: “The bullying nature of Fifa’s letter was staggering.

“We’ve no intention to be like Fifa and we’ve never experienced any confusion.

“I don’t expect fans to be flying in expecting to see Ronaldo and Messi at our next event. We’re not wealthy like Fifa yet we’re in a position where we have to fight this or fold to it.”

There are 60,000 or so players in England and 53 countries play the game.

FIWFA chief exec Paul Carr, 65, who plays for Wigan Walkers, said: “The bullying nature of Fifa’s letter was staggering.

“We’ve no intention to be like Fifa and we’ve never experienced any confusion.

“I don’t expect fans to be flying in expecting to see Ronaldo and Messi at our next event. We’re not wealthy like Fifa yet we’re in a position where we have to fight this or fold to it.”

Fifa’s letter adds that the similar names means “there is a risk that the value of sponsorship is undermined.”

It has hired UK lawyers.

A spokesperson said: “Like any trademark owner, Fifa is following standard procedures that are key to protect its brands.

FIWFA chief exec Paul Carr said Fifa’s bullying letter ‘was staggering