Japanese clothing company Uniqlo announced earlier this week that the winning design for its Pokemon UT Grand Prix t-shirt contest would appear in the upcoming Pokemon Sword and Shield. It tacitly confirmed character customization would be in Sword and Shield, but also that a cool Pokemon design would be sold at Uniqlo stores alongside other designs. At least, that was before Uniqlo announced it was pulling the shirt from stores and the Pokemon game over a rule violation.
"Uniqlo, the Japanese global apparel retailer, today announces that it has disqualified the Grand Prize winner and another finalist in its Pokemon themed UT Grand Prix 2019 design contest after learning that the designs in question were not in accordance with the terms of that competition. Uniqlo will not award the Grand Prize to another entrant or sell merchandise featuring the designs," writes Uniqlo in a statement on the contest page.
Serebii also reports that the winning shirt has been pulled from the upcoming release of Sword and Shield, and there will not be a replacement in the game.
The reason for the disqualification is reportedly from the contest rules which states that the submitted designs couldn't be used previously for commercial purposes. On a deleted Sina Weibo social media post by the grand winner Li Wen Pei (translated by Nintendo Soup), the design was previously used for a small batch of cell phone cases.
Uniqlo's rules for the contest specifically says that "Uniqlo may withdraw prizes and/or terminate merchandising of t-shirts with Winning Artworks without prior notice to an entrant," if the entered artwork "is already publicly available from outside Uniqlo stores."
We reached out to The Pokemon Company who redirected us to Uniqlo's original statement. For more, check out our Pokemon Sword and Shield guide for further coverage.