The three lions, as used on the shirts of the England football team, are to be dropped after Euro 2004 the Football Association has announced. In a press statement the FA stated that a change of emblem has been forced upon them by the discovery that only the monarch is entitled to use the three lions emblem. The Test and County Cricket Board of England and Wales will also cease to use the three lions after the tests against the West Indies this summer.
The Heraldic College of Arms has issued the following statement on the discovery:
"The earliest date we can be certain of its use as an emblem/coat of arms is 1198, at this date we know that Richard I (the Lionheart) used Gules, three lions passant guardant in pale. That is to say, a red shield with three running gold lions, heads turned to face the viewer, arranged one above the other. This design is known in heraldic shorthand as England(meaning the English monarch) and has appeared on the royal arms of every English monarch since. There are various designs and colours of the emblem recorded in the heraldic register which prove that they are legally the coat of arms belonging to Richard and his successors as monarchs of England. It forms part of the Royal Standard today and by law can only be used by the monarch".
An FA spokesman admitted that they are in a dilemma over what emblem to use in future but it is understood that one design under consideration has three arrowed dead cockerels arranged one on top of the other.