A $10,000 competition prize for designing a Pokémon T-shirt has been cancelled due to repeated breaches of its rules.

More than 18,000 designs were entered into the contest, organised by T-shirt maker Uniqlo, and voted on by top Pokémon execs. 24 were chosen to become actual shirts, with one grand prize winner.

This winner was set to net a cool $10,000 and see their design become a virtual shirt to be worn in Pokémon Sword and Shield. But, now, that won't happen.

The trouble started when the initial winning design - a snazzy stylised Magikarp and Gyarados number - was found to have breached rules by previously having gone on sale. Here's how it would have looked:

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Not anymore.

Writing on Chinese social network Weibo (translated by Nintendo Soup), designer Li Wen Pei admitted he'd sold a few phone cases using the design prior to entering the competition - but said any T-shirts with his work on were the work of pirates.

It wasn't enough for Uniqlo. Competition rules specified any design entered could not have gone on sale before. The T-shirt was disqualified.

Would a runner-up get the grand prize instead? Before Uniqlo could name a new winner, a second design was binned. This time, a Mewtwo illustration from a British entrant was found to have been straight up copied.

Now, Uniqlo says it simply won't award a grand prize. There will be no $10,000 award, and no T-shirt will be featured in Sword and Shield.

In a statement on the matter, Uniqlo said it would "take appropriate measures to prevent a similar situation from recurring" in the future. The remaining 22 T-shirt designs will still be made, however.

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You can see all 24 designs, including the two banned ones, below:

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Tom Phillips

Tom Phillips

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Tom is Eurogamer's news editor. He writes lots of news, some of the puns and all the stealth Destiny articles.