Kit (association football)


Kit (association football)

A kit (also known as a "strip" or "uniform") is the standard equipment and attire worn by players in association football. The sport's Laws of the Game specify the minimum kit which a player must use, and also prohibit the use of anything that is dangerous to the player or another participant. Individual competitions may stipulate further restrictions, such as regulating the size of logos displayed on shirts and stating that in the event of a match between teams with identical or similar colours the away team must change to a different kit.

Footballers generally wear identifying numbers on the backs of their shirts. Originally a team of players wore numbers from 1 to 11, corresponding roughly to their playing positions, but at the professional level this has generally been superseded by squad numbering, whereby each player in a squad is allocated a fixed number for the duration of a season. Professional clubs also usually display players' surnames and/or nicknames on their shirts, above (or, infrequently, below) their squad numbers.

Football kit has evolved significantly since the early days of the sport, when players typically wore thick cotton shirts, knickerbockers and heavy rigid leather boots. In the twentieth century boots became lighter and softer, shorts were worn at a shorter length, and advancements in clothing manufacture and printing allowed for shirts to be made in lighter synthetic fibres with increasingly colourful and complex designs. Sponsors' logos began to appear on kits, and replica kits were made available for fans to purchase, generating significant amounts of revenue for clubs.

Equipment

Basic equipment

The Laws of the Game set out the basic equipment which must be worn by all players in Law 4: The Players' Equipment. Five separate items are specified: shirt (also known as a jersey), shorts, socks (also known as stockings), footwear and shin pads. Goalkeepers are allowed to wear track pants instead of shorts.cite book |title=Laws of the Game 2008/2009 |chapter=Interpretation of the laws of the game and guidelines for referees: Law 4 — The Players' Equipment |accessdate=2008-09-01 |publisher=FIFA |format=PDF |pages=pp.63–64 ] While most players wear studded shoes called "football boots", the Laws do not specify that these are required. Shirts must have sleeves, and goalkeepers must wear shirts which are easily distinguishable from all other players and the match officials. Thermal undershorts may be worn, but must be the same colour as the shorts themselves. Shin pads must be covered entirely by the stockings, be made of rubber, plastic or a similar material, and "provide a reasonable degree of protection". The only other restriction on equipment defined in the Laws of the Game is the requirement that a player "must not use equipment or wear anything that is dangerous to himself or another player".cite book |url=http://www.fifa.com/mm/document/affederation/federation/81/42/36/lotg%5fen%5f55753.pdf |title=Laws of the Game 2008/2009 |chapter=Law 4 — The Players' Equipment |accessdate=2008-09-01 |publisher=FIFA |format=PDF |pages=pp.18–19 ]

It is normal for individual competitions to specify that all outfield players on a team must wear the same colours, though the Law states only "The two teams must wear colours that distinguish them from each other and also the referee and the assistant referees". In the event of a match between teams who would normally wear identical or similar colours the away team must change to a different colour. [cite web |url=http://www.wessexleague.co.uk/rules4.htm |title=Standardised League Rules |publisher=Wessex Football League |accessdate=2008-01-16 ] Because of this requirement a team's second-choice is often referred to as its "away kit" or "away colours", although it is not unknown, especially at international level, for teams to opt to wear their away kit even when not required to by a clash of colours, or to wear it at home. The England national team sometimes plays in red shirts even when not required to, as this was the kit worn when the team won the 1966 FIFA World Cup. [cite web |url=http://www.englandfootballonline.com/TeamUnif/Unif.html |title=England's Uniforms - Player Kits |publisher=England Football Online |author=Glen Isherwood et al |accessdate=2008-01-23|quote=England sometimes choose to wear their red at home even though they could wear their white, as against Germany in the last match played at Wembley Stadium. The Football Association wished to invoke the spirit of 1966, when, in their finest moment at Wembley, England beat West Germany in the World Cup final wearing their red shirts. ] Many professional clubs also have a "third kit", ostensibly to be used if both their first-choice and away colours are deemed too similar to those of an opponent. Most professional clubs have retained the same basic colour scheme for several decades, and the colours themselves form an integral part of a club's culture.cite book |last=Giulianotti |first=Richard |coauthors=Norman Bonney, Mike Hepworth |title=Football, Violence and Social Identity |isbn=0-4150-9838-6 |year=1994 |publisher= Routledge |pages=p75 |quote=For a supporter, whether or not he lives in the city of the team, the team colours are the most important symbol of his football faith, dominating any other symbol or cultural meaning such as nation, class or political party. ] National teams generally wear colours based on those of their national flag, although there are exceptions. The Italian national team wear blue as it was the colour of the House of Savoy, [cite web |url=http://www.fifa.com/newscentre/news/newsid=111184.html |title=What's in a name? Part II |publisher=FIFA |accessdate=2008-09-01|date=2000-02-05] and Scotland wear dark blue as their first ever team was made up entirely of Queen's Park players, who wore their dark blue club shirts for the match. [cite web |url=http://www.bbc.co.uk/scotland/sportscotland/asportingnation/article/0012/|title=The first international football match|publisher=BBC |accessdate=2008-09-01]

Shirts are normally made of a polyester mesh, which does not trap the sweat and body heat in the same way as a shirt made of a natural fibre. [cite web |url=http://www.bupa.co.uk/health_information/html/healthy_living/lifestyle/exercise/football.html |title=Football and health |publisher=BUPA |accessdate=2008-01-17 ] Most professional clubs have sponsors' logos on the front of their shirts, which can generate significant levels of income, [cite web |url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/4882640.stm |title=Man Utd sign £56m AIG shirt deal |publisher=BBC |date=2006-04-06 |accessdate=2008-01-16 ] and some also offer sponsors the chance to place their logos on the back of their shirts. [cite web |url=http://www.nottscountyfc.premiumtv.co.uk/page/NewsDetail/0,,10426~1201325,00.html |title=Back-of-the-shirt Sponsors Draw |publisher=Notts County F.C. |date=2007-12-30 |accessdate=2008-01-16 ] Depending on local rules, there may be restrictions on how large these logos may be or on what logos may be displayed.cite web |url=http://www.thefa.com/NR/rdonlyres/D6561F46-243A-453C-A765-88E8CF41A831/121978/Advertising.pdf |title=Regulations Relating to Advertising on the Clothing of Players, Club Officials and match Officials |format=PDF |publisher=The FA |accessdate=2008-01-16 ] Competitions such as the Premier League may also require players to wear patches on their sleeves depicting the logo of the competition. [cite web |url=http://www.chriskay.com/premier.htm |title=The F.A. Premier League |publisher=Chris Kay International |accessdate=2008-01-22] A player's number is usually printed on the back of the shirt, although international teams often also print numbers on the front, [cite web |url=http://www.englandfootballonline.com/TeamInteractive/Q&A/Q&A.html |title=Q & A 2006 |publisher=England Football Online |date=2006-11-22 |accessdate=2008-01-16 ] and professional teams generally print a player's surname above his number.cite book |last=Davies |first=Hunter |title=Boots, Balls and Haircuts: An Illustrated History of Football from Then to Now |isbn=1-8440-3261-2 |year=2003 |publisher=Cassell Illustrated |chapter=Chapter 3. Equipment: Bring on the Balls |pages=p158 ] The captain of each team is usually required to wear an elasticated armband around the left sleeve in order to identify him as the captain to the referee and supporters. [cite web |url=http://www.footballpakistan.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2658&Itemid=15 |title=Captain's armband is compulsory in PFF competitions : Faisal |publisher=FootballPakistan.com |date=2007-12-05 |accessdate=2008-01-22]

Most current players wear specialist football boots, which can be made either of leather or a synthetic material. Modern boots are cut slightly below the ankles, as opposed to the high-ankled boots used in former times, and have studs attached to the soles. Studs may be either moulded directly to the sole or be detachable, normally by means of a screw thread.cite book |last=Reilly |first=Thomas |coauthors=A.M. Williams |title=Science and Soccer |publisher=Routledge |year=2003 |isbn=0-4152-6232-1 |pages=p125 ] Modern boots such as the Adidas Predator, originally designed by former Liverpool player Craig Johnston, feature increasingly intricate, scientifically-aided designs and features such as air pockets in the soles and rubber "blades" on the sole rather than studs. [cite web |url=http://sport.guardian.co.uk/thegear/story/0,,1685960,00.html |title=Adidas Predator Absolute |author=Mike Adamson |date=2006-01-13 |publisher=The Guardian |accessdate=2008-01-16 ] The blades have been the subject of controversy as several top managers have blamed them for injuries both to opposition players and to the wearers themselves. [cite web |url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/low/football/teams/m/man_utd/4277722.stm |title=Ferguson wants bladed boots ban |date=2005-09-24|publisher=BBC |accessdate=2008-01-18 ] [cite web |url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/low/football/teams/s/sheff_utd/4166188.stm|title=Warnock is concerned over blades
date=2005-08-19|publisher=BBC |accessdate=2008-01-18
] Some players choose to deliberately wear boots which are slightly too small for them, as they feel this increases their ability to control the ball, however this too has been blamed for injuries suffered by players. [cite web |url=http://www.feetforlife.org/cgi-bin/item.cgi?

publisher=The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists |accessdate=2008-01-18
]

Other equipment

All players are permitted to wear gloves, and goalkeepers usually wear specialist goalkeeping gloves. Prior to the 1970s, gloves were rarely worn,cite web|url=http://www.dpma.de/infos/fussball/wm2006_eng/technik/torwartbekleidung/handschuhe.html|title=Football and Technology: Goalkeeper kit|accessdate=2008-01-15|publisher=Deutsches Patent- und Markenamt] but it is now extremely unusual to see a goalkeeper without gloves. In Portugal's match against England in the Euro 2004 tournament, Ricardo Pereira drew much comment for deciding to remove his gloves during the penalty shoot-out. [cite web|url=http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4158/is_20040625/ai_n12793507|title=Football: Euro 2004: Referee's error denies England victory|author=Craig Brown|accessdate=2008-01-15|date=2004-06-25|publisher=The Independent] Since the 1980s significant advancements have been made in the design of gloves, which now feature protectors to prevent the fingers bending backwards, segmentation to allow greater flexibility, and palms made of materials designed to protect the hand and to enhance a player's grip. Gloves are available in a varierty of different cuts, including "flat palm", "roll finger" and "negative", with variations in the stitching and fit. [cite web|url=http://theglovebag.com/content/glovecutguide.aspx|title=Goalkeeper Glove Cut Guide|publisher=TheGloveBag.com|accessdate=2008-07-14|date=2006-03-28] Goalkeepers sometimes also wear caps to prevent glare from the sun or floodlights affecting their performance. Players with sight problems may wear glasses as long as there is no risk of them falling off or breaking and thereby becoming dangerous. Most players affected choose to wear contact lenses, although Dutch player Edgar Davids, who is unable to wear contact lenses due to his glaucoma, is known for his distinctive wraparound goggles. [cite web|url=http://www.soccertimes.com/oped/2003/mar07.htm|title=Goggles are Davids' most glaring feature|publisher=Soccertimes.com|accessdate=2008-01-16|date=2003-03-07] Other items that may be dangerous to other players, such as jewellery, however, are not allowed. Other items currently worn by players include base layers, such as Nike's NikePro range and Canterbury's BaseLayer range. [cite web |url=http://www.prodirectsoccer.com/staticfeature.asp?ART=3123 |title=Base Layers |accessdate=2008-01-17 |publisher=Pro Direct Soccer ] Players may also choose to wear headgear to protect themselves from head injury as long as it presents no risk to the safety of the wearer or any other player. [cite web |url=http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/news-and-comment/cechs-rugbystyle-headgear-passes-the-fas-safety-test-432872.html |title=Cech's rugby-style headgear passes the FA's safety test |accessdate=2008-04-16 |publisher=The Independent|date=2007-01-20]

Match officials' kit

Referees, assistant referees and fourth officials wear kits of a similar style to that worn by players. Although not specified in the Laws of the Game, it is considered a principle of football that officials wear a kit of a different colour to those worn by the two teams. [cite web|url=http://www.bedfordshirefa.com/NR/rdonlyres/A5BC80BC-5AC0-46A7-A46D-BB7E6403DF83/0/AdviceForNewlyQualifiedReferees.pdf|format=PDF|title=Advice for Newly Qualified Referees|publisher=The FA|accessdate=2008-01-15 (PDF document)] In 1998 Premier League referee David Elleray was forced to change his kit midway through a match between Aston Villa and Wimbledon as it was deemed too similar to that worn by the Wimbledon players. [cite web|url=http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4158/is_19980913/ai_n14170680|title=Football: Merson revels in the Villa high life|publisher=The Independent|author=Jon Culley |date=1998-09-13|accessdate=2008-01-23] Black is the traditional colour worn by officials, and "the man in black" is widely used as an informal term for a referee, [cite web|url=http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4158/is_20010816/ai_n14411847|title=Dowd sees the light as the man in black|publisher=The Independent|author=Phil Shaw |date=2001-08-16|accessdate=2008-01-15] although increasingly other colours are being used in the modern era.cite book
last=Cox
first=Richard
coauthors=Dave Russell, Wray Vamplew
title=Encyclopedia of British Football
publisher=Routledge
year=2002
id=ISBN 0-7146-5249-0
pages=p76
] A common crowd chant directed at referees is "who's the bastard in the black?", referring to the traditional colour of an official's kit. [cite web|url=http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4159/is_20040613/ai_n12756634|title=Euro 2004: The Euro 2004 Phrasebook|publisher=The Independent|date=2004-06-13|accessdate=2008-05-21] Referees also sometimes have sponsors' logos on their shirts, although it is normally confined to the sleeves. [cite web|url=http://football.guardian.co.uk/Columnists/Column/0,,1851943,00.html|title=Bright sparks hope over Burns reform|publisher=The Guardian|author=Paul Kelso |date=2006-08-17|accessdate=2008-01-18|quote=A (relatively) affordable route into the Premiership has opened up for sponsors after the airline Emirates decided that this season will be its last as the official partner of top-flight referees....The successor will get exposure - its logo on the whistlers' shirt sleeves will be seen in 204 countries....]

History

Victorian era

Organised association football was first played in England in the 1860s, but at this time the concept of standard team colours had not come about. Teams would generally play in whatever clothing they had available, with players of the same team distinguishing themselves by wearing coloured caps or sashes. This came to be problematic though, and an 1867 handbook of the game suggested that teams should attempt "if it can be previously so arranged, to have one side with striped jerseys of one colour, say red, and the other with another, say blue. This prevents confusion and wild attempts to wrest the ball from your neighbour."cite book
last=Davies
first=Hunter
title=Boots, Balls and Haircuts: An Illustrated History of Football from Then to Now
chapter=Chapter 3. Equipment: Bring on the Balls | pages=p48
]

The first standard kits began to emerge in the 1870s, with many clubs opting for colours associated with the schools or other sporting organisations from which the clubs had emerged.cite web|url=http://www.historicalkits.co.uk/Articles/History.htm|title=A Brief History of Football Kit Design in England and Scotland|author=David Moor|accessdate=2008-01-14|publisher=HistoricalFootballKits.co.uk] Blackburn Rovers, for example, adopted shirts of a halved design based on those of the team for former pupils of Malvern College, one of the schools where the sport had developed. Their original colours of light blue and white were chosen to reflect an association with Cambridge University, where a number of the club's founders had been educated.cite web|url=http://www.rovers.premiumtv.co.uk/page/ThroughTheYears/0,,10303~78737,00.html|title=1875–1884: The early years|accessdate=2008-01-14|publisher=Blackburn Rovers F.C.|date=2007-07-02] Colours and designs often changed dramatically between matches, with Bolton Wanderers turning out in both pink shirts and white shirts with red spots within the same year.cite book
last=Davies
first=Hunter
title=Boots, Balls and Haircuts: An Illustrated History of Football
chapter=Chapter 3. Equipment: Bring on the Balls | pages=p48–49
] Rather than the modern shorts, players wore long knickerbockers or full-length trousers, often with a belt or even braces. Lord Kinnaird, an early star of the game, was noted for always being resplendent in long white trousers. [cite web|url=http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2005/01/07/nfoot07.xml|title=Second FA Cup could fetch record £300,000 at auction
publisher=The Daily Telegraph|author=Will Bennett|date=2005-01-07|accessdate=2008-01-15
] There were no numbers printed on shirts to identify individual players, and the programme for an 1875 match between Queen's Park and Wanderers in Glasgow identifies the players by the colours of their caps or stockings.cite book
last=Soar
first=Phil
coauthors=Martin Tyler
title=Encyclopedia of British Football
id=ISBN 0-0021-8049-9
year=1983
publisher=Willow Books
chapter=The Game in Scotland | pages=p65
] The first shin pads were worn in 1874 by the Nottingham Forest player Sam Weller Widdowson, who cut down a pair of cricket pads and wore them outside his stockings. Initially the concept was ridiculed but it soon caught on with other players. [cite web|url=http://www.ashfield-dc.gov.uk/ccm/navigation/leisure-and-culture/sports/cricket/hucknall-cricketers/;jsessionid=BE0FABC106B167CFFBE9DA31DBFC7E38|title=Hucknall Cricketers
publisher=Ashfield District Council|accessdate=2008-01-15
] By the turn of the century pads had become smaller and were being worn inside the stockings.cite book
last=Davies
first=Hunter
title=Boots, Balls and Haircuts: An Illustrated History of Football from Then to Now
chapter=Chapter 3. Equipment: Bring on the Balls | pages=p57
]

As the game gradually moved away from being a pursuit for wealthy amateurs to one dominated by working-class professionals, kits changed accordingly. The clubs themselves, rather than individual players, were now responsible for purchasing kit and financial concerns, along with the need for the growing numbers of spectators to easily identify the players, led to the lurid colours of earlier years being abandoned in favour of simple combinations of primary colours. In 1890 the Football League, which had been formed two years earlier, ruled that no two member teams could have similar kits, so as to avoid clashes. This rule was later abandoned in favour of one stipulating that all teams must have a second set of shirts in a different colour available. Initially the home team was required to change colours in the event of a clash, but in 1921 the rule was amended to require the away team to change.cite book
last=Cox
first=Richard
coauthors=Dave Russell, Wray Vamplew
title=Encyclopedia of British Football
publisher=Routledge
year=2002
id=ISBN 0-7146-5249-0
pages=p74
]

Specialised football boots began to emerge in the professional era, taking the place of everyday shoes or work boots. Players initially simply nailed strips of leather to their boots to enhance their grip, leading the Football Association to rule in 1863 that no nails could project from boots. By the 1880s these crude attachments had become studs. Boots of this era were made of heavy leather, had hard toecaps, and came high above a player's ankles.cite book
last=Davies
first=Hunter
title=Boots, Balls and Haircuts: An Illustrated History of Football from Then to Now
chapter=Chapter 3. Equipment: Bring on the Balls | pages=p55–56
]

Early 20th century

As the game began to spread to Europe and beyond, clubs adopted kits similar to those worn in the United Kingdom, and in some cases chose colours directly inspired by British clubs. In 1903, Juventus of Italy adopted a black and white kit inspired by Notts County. [cite web|url=http://www.nottscountyfc.premiumtv.co.uk/page/HistoryDetail/0,,10426~1028229,00.html|publisher=Notts County F.C.|title=Black & White|date=2007-05-21|accessdate=2008-01-15] Two years later, Argentina's Club Atlético Independiente adopted red shirts after watching Nottingham Forest play. [es icon cite web|url=http://www.caindependiente.com/cms/historia.php?id=149|publisher=Club Atlético Independiente|title=Década del '10|accessdate=2008-01-15]

In 1904 the Football Association dropped its rule that players' knickerbockers must cover their knees and teams began wearing them much shorter. They became known as "knickers", and were referred to by this term until the 1960s when "shorts" became the preferred term.cite book
last=Davies
first=Hunter
title=Boots, Balls and Haircuts: An Illustrated History of Football from Then to Now
chapter=Chapter 3. Equipment: Bring on the Balls | pages=p51
] Initially, almost all teams wore knickers of a contrasting colour to their shirts. In 1909, in a bid to assist referees in identifying the goalkeeper amongst a ruck of players, the Laws of the Game were amended to state that the goalkeeper must wear a shirt of a different colour to his team-mates. Initially it was specified that goalkeepers' shirts must be either scarlet or royal blue, but when green was added as a third option in 1912 it caught on the extent that soon almost every goalkeeper was playing in green. In this period goalkeepers generally wore a heavy woollen garment more akin to a jumper than the shirts worn by outfield players.

Sporadic experiments with numbered shirts took place in the 1920s but the idea did not initially catch on.cite book
last=Davies
first=Hunter
title=Boots, Balls and Haircuts: An Illustrated History of Football from Then to Now
chapter=Chapter 12. Equipment | pages=p156
] The first major match in which numbers were worn was the 1933 FA Cup Final between Everton and Manchester City. Rather than the numbers being added to the clubs' existing kits, two special kits, one white and one red, were made for the final and allocated to the two teams by the toss of a coin. The Everton players wore numbers 1–11, while the City players wore 12–22. [cite web|url=http://www.historicalkits.co.uk/English_Football_League/FA_Cup_Finals/1930-1939.html|title=English FA Cup Finalists 1930 – 1939 |publisher=HistoricalFootballKits.co.uk|accessdate=2008-01-15] It was not until around the time of the Second World War that numbering became standard, with teams wearing numbers 1–11. Although there were no regulations on which player should wear which number, specific numbers came to be associated with specific positions on the field of play, a prime example being the number 9 shirt which was usually reserved for the team's main striker. The 1930s also saw great advancements in boot manufacture, with new synthetic materials and softer leathers becoming available. By 1936 players in Europe were wearing boots which weighed only a third of the weight of the rigid boots of a decade earlier, although British clubs did not adopt the new-style boots, with players such as Billy Wright openly pronouncing their disdain for the new footwear and claiming that it was more suited to ballet than football.cite book
last=Davies
first=Hunter
title=Boots, Balls and Haircuts: An Illustrated History of Football from Then to Now
chapter=Chapter 12. Equipment | pages=p154–155
]

In the period immediately after the war, many teams in Europe were forced to wear unusual kits due to clothing restrictions. England's Oldham Athletic, who had traditionally worn blue and white, spent two seasons playing in red and white shirts borrowed from a local rugby league club, [cite web|url=http://www.historicalkits.co.uk/Oldham_Athletic/Oldham_Athletic.htm|title=Oldham Athletic
publisher=HistoricalKits.co.uk|accessdate=2008-01-17
] and Scotland's Clyde wore khaki. [cite web|url=http://www.historicalkits.co.uk/Scottish_Football_League/Clyde/Clyde.htm|title=Clyde
publisher=HistoricalKits.co.uk|accessdate=2008-01-17
] In the 1950s kits worn by players in southern Europe and South America became much more lightweight, with V-necks replacing collars on shirts and synthetic fabrics replacing heavy natural fibres. The first boots to be cut below the ankle rather than high-topped were introduced by Adidas in 1954. Although they cost twice as much as existing styles the boots were a huge success and cemented the German company's place in the football market. Around the same time Adidas also developed the first boots with screw-in studs which could be changed according to pitch conditions. Other areas were slower to adopt the new styles – British clubs once again resisted change and stuck resolutely to kits little different to those worn before the war,cite book
last=Cox
first=Richard
coauthors=Dave Russell, Wray Vamplew
title=Encyclopedia of British Football
publisher=Routledge
year=2002
id=ISBN 0-7146-5249-0
pages=p75
] and Eastern European teams continued to wear kits that were deemed old-fashioned elsewhere. The FC Dynamo Moscow team that toured Western Europe in 1945 drew almost as much comment for the players' long baggy shorts as for the quality of their football. [cite web|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/scotland/1602679.stm|title=An historic day in Glasgow
publisher=BBC|accessdate=2008-01-15|date=2001-10-16|author=Bob Crampsey|quote=It's only a slight exaggeration to say that the Dynamo side looked like they came from Mars - they wore very dark blue tops and extremely baggy shorts with a blue band round the bottom.
] With the advent of international competitions such as the European Cup, the southern European style spread to the rest of the continent and by the end of the decade the heavy kits and boots of the pre-war years had fallen entirely out of use. The 1960s saw little innovation in kit design, with clubs generally opting for simple kits which looked good under the newly-adopted floodlights. Kit designs from the late 1960s and early 1970s are highly regarded by football fans. [cite web|url=http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/football/article2537973.ece|title=The top 50 football kits
publisher=The Times|accessdate=2008-01-17|date=2007-09-26|author=Nick Szczepanik
]

Modern era

In the 1970s clubs began to create strongly individual kit designs, and in 1975 Leeds United, who had changed their traditional blue and gold kit to all white in the 1960s to mimic Real Madrid,cite book |last=Ball |first=Phil |title=Morbo: The Story of Spanish Football |isbn=0-9540-1345-8 |year=2003 |publisher=WSC Books Ltd |pages=p113|quote=Indeed, when Don Revie took over at Leeds in the early 1960s he changed their kit from blue and gold to all white, modelling his new charges on the Spanish giants. ] became the first club to design a kit which could be sold to fans in the form of replica shirts. Driven by commercial concerns, other clubs soon followed suit, adding manufacturers' logos and a higher level of trim. The early part of the decade also saw the first sponsored kits, with top clubs such as Bayern Munich displaying companies' names on their shirts. Soon almost all major clubs had signed such deals, although two top Spanish clubs, FC Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao, refused to allow sponsors' logos to appear on their shirts as recently as 2005. [cite web|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/4521573.stm|publisher=BBC|title=Barcelona eyes Beijing shirt deal |accessdate=2008-01-24|date=2005-05-06] Even today, Barcelona has refused paying sponsors in favor of wearing the UNICEF logo on their kits while donating €1.5 million to the charity per year. [cite web|url=http://www.unicef.org/media/media_35642.html|publisher=UNICEF|title=Futbol Club Barcelona, UNICEF team up for children in global partnership|accessdate=2008-08-26] Players also began to sign sponsorship deals with individual companies. In 1974 Johan Cruijff refused to wear the Dutch national team's kit as its Adidas branding conflicted with his own individual contract with Puma, and was permitted to wear a version without the Adidas branding. [cite web|url=http://www.journalonline.co.uk/article/1001918.aspx|publisher=The Journal|title=Don't mention the boot war|author=Bruce Caldow |accessdate=2008-01-24] Puma had also paid Pelé $120,000 to wear their boots and specifically requested that he bend down and tie his laces at the start of the 1970 FIFA World Cup final, ensuring a close-up of the boots for a worldwide television audience. [cite web|url=http://in.rediff.com/sports/2005/nov/08adi.htm|publisher=The Journal|title=How Adidas and Puma were born|author=Erik Kirschbaum |accessdate=2008-01-24|date=2005-11-08]

In the 1980s manufacturers such as Hummel and Adidas began to design shirts with increasingly intricate designs, as new technology led to the introduction of such design elements as shadow prints and pinstripes. Hummel's distinctive halved kit designed for the Danish national team for the 1986 FIFA World Cup caused a stir in the media but concern was raised by FIFA over its appearance on television. [cite web|url=http://www.hummel.dk/Company/About/Milestones/1981-1990/1986.aspx|publisher=hummel International|title=Milestones: 1986|accessdate=2008-01-16] Shorts became shorter than ever during the 1970s and 80s, and often included the player's number on the front. [cite web|url=http://www.englandfootballonline.com/TeamInteractive/Features/FeatAdmiral.html|title=Admiral Mysteries|publisher=England Football Online|first=Glen|last=Isherwood|date=6 June 2005|accessdate=2008-01-28] In the 1991 FA Cup Final Tottenham Hotspur's players lined up in long baggy shorts. At the time the new look was derided, but within a short period of time clubs both in Britain and elsewhere had adopted the longer shorts. [cite web|url=http://www.historicalkits.co.uk/English_Football_League/FA_Cup_Finals/1990-1999.html|title=English FA Cup Finalists 1990 – 1999 |publisher=HistoricalFootballKits.co.uk|accessdate=2008-01-15] In the 1990s shirt designs became increasingly complex, with many teams sporting extremely gaudy kits. Design decisions were increasingly driven by the need for the shirt to look good when worn by fans as a fashion item, but many designs from this era have since come to be regarded as amongst the worst of all time. [cite web|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/2984863.stm|title=The worst football kits of all time|author=Tom Fordyce |publisher=BBC|date=2003-04-29|accessdate=2008-01-14] In 1996, Manchester United notoriously introduced a grey kit which had been specifically designed to look good when worn with jeans, but abandoned it halfway through a match after manager Alex Ferguson claimed that the reason why his team was losing 3–0 was that the players could not see each other on the pitch. United switched to a different kit for the second half and scored one goal without reply. [cite web|url=http://soccernet.espn.go.com/columns/story?id=336980&root=extratime|title=10 of the worst....football kits|author= Dominic Raynor|publisher=ESPN|date=2005-07-12|accessdate=2008-01-18] The leading leagues also introduced squad numbers, whereby each player is allocated a specific number for the duration of a season. [cite web|url=http://football.guardian.co.uk/theknowledge/story/0,,1865353,00.html|title=What's in a number?
publisher=The Guardian|date=2006-09-06|author=Rob Smyth and Paolo Bandini|accessdate=2008-01-16
] A brief fad arose for players celebrating goals by lifting or completely removing their shirts to reveal political, religious or personal slogans printed on undershirts. This led to a ruling from the International Football Association Board in 2002 that undershirts must not contain slogans or logos. [cite web|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/2251338.stm|title=Henry gets the message
publisher=BBC|date=2002-09-11|author=Stuart Roach |accessdate=2008-01-24
]

The market for replica shirts has grown enormously, with the revenue generated for leading clubs and the frequency with which they change kit designs coming under increased scrutiny, especially in the United Kingdom, where the market for replicas is worth in excess of £200m. [cite web|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/your_money/413598.stm|title=Clubs rapped over kit sales |publisher=BBC|accessdate=2008-01-14|date=1999-08-06|quote=The cost of replica kit - and the number of times new versions come on the market - has long been a bone of contention for football fans.] Several clubs have been accused of price fixing, and in 2003 Manchester United were fined £1.65m by the Office of Fair Trading. [cite web|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/3116353.stm|title=Man Utd fined for price fixing|publisher=BBC|accessdate=2008-01-14|date=2003-08-01] The high prices charged for replicas have also led to many fans buying fake shirts which are imported from countries such as Thailand and Malaysia. [cite web|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/4768454.stm|title=The Fake Football Shirt Sting |publisher=BBC|author=Darragh MacIntyre |accessdate=2008-01-14|date=2006-03-03] Nonetheless, the chance for fans to purchase a shirt bearing the name and number of a star player can lead to significant revenue for a club. In the first six months after David Beckham's transfer to Real Madrid the club sold more than one million shirts bearing his name. [cite web|url=http://uk.reuters.com/article/footballNews/idUKL1289419220070712|title=Beckham sells 250,000 Galaxy shirts before he gets to LA |publisher=Reuters UK|accessdate=2008-01-14|date=2007-07-12] A market has also developed for shirts worn by players during significant matches, which are sold as collector's items. The shirt worn by Pelé in the 1970 FIFA World Cup Final sold at auction for over £150,000 in 2002. [cite web|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/1896673.stm|title=Record price for Pele's shirt|publisher=BBC|accessdate=2008-01-17|date=2002-03-22]

A number of advances in kit design have taken place since 2000, with varying degrees of success. In 2002 the Cameroon national team competed in the African Cup of Nations in Mali wearing shirts with no sleeves, [cite web|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/africa/cup_of_nations/1775234.stm|title=Indomitable fashions
publisher=BBC|accessdate=2008-01-14|date=2002-01-22
] but FIFA later ruled that such garments were not considered to be shirts and therefore were not permitted under the Laws of the Game. [cite web|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/africa/1862872.stm|title=Fifa bans Cameroon shirts
publisher=BBC|accessdate=2008-01-15|date=2002-03-09
] Manufacturers Puma AG initially added "invisible" black sleeves in order to comply with the ruling, but later supplied the team with a new one-piece singlet-style kit. FIFA ordered the team not to wear the kit but the ruling was disregarded, with the result that the Cameroon team was deducted six points in its qualifying campaign for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, [cite web|url=http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2004/04/17/1089385.htm|title=Cameroon docked six World Cup points for controversial kit|publisher=ABC News Australia|date=2004-04-17|accessdate=2008-01-15] a decision later reversed after an appeal. [cite web|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/africa/3735765.stm|title=Fifa lifts Cameroon sanction
publisher=BBC|author=Osasu Obayiuwana
date=2004-05-21|accessdate=2008-01-15
] More successful were the skin-tight shirts designed for the Italian national team by manufacturers Kappa, a style subsequently emulated by other national teams and club sides.cite web|url=http://soccernet.espn.go.com/columns/story?id=336980&root=extratime&cc=5739|title=10 of the worst...football kits
publisher=ESPN|author=Dominic Raynor|accessdate=2008-01-15|date=2005-07-12
]

References

External links

* [http://www.historicalkits.co.uk/ Graphical history of English and Scottish football kits]


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