Nike’s kit launches for the England and US national teams were met with scorn from fans and media on Thursday, whilst panic-stricken executives cancelled the launch of the Brazil shirt in Rio due to unwarranted concerns over demonstrations.
The company, known only as “Sportswear Company A” in US indictments relating to football-related corruption, decided to launch its new England, France, USA and Brazil on the same day – perhaps hoping fans wouldn’t notice how similar they are.
The England design comprises white shirt and shorts with blue trim, grey-blue sleeves and shoulders, and red socks. The red away kit carries the same design but with blue socks, and dark red sleeves and shoulders.
According to the FA, the red away shirt commemorates the 50th anniversary of England’s 1966 World Cup success at Wembley, although for many it will be a reminder of how long it has been since the national team has won a major trophy.
Reactions on Twitter included the comment that the kit, which will be used in Euro 2016, “looks like those knock-off ones you get for kids at market stalls,” – a comment which became a headline in The Sun. In an online poll 69% of fans said they did not like it.
Very similar shirts launched for the USA national teams sparked the headline “US releases terrible new jerseys for USMNT,” with a writer for Fanside commenting , “I wonder if Nike thought about the design for the USMNT. What soccer team in the world has one sleeve red and one sleeve blue?”
“Let’s hope the team plays better than they look,? he added: “Nike failed on this design.”
The French kit, also launched yesterday, was criticised for its similarity to the England kit, although the French away kit actually earned some praise with comments including “away kit great, home kit disgusting.”
The Rio launch of the Brazilian kit for the Copa America Centenario was cancelled by Nike officials who, apparently worried about anti-Government demonstrations, told Reuters, “We didn’t know what Rio was going to be like today. It was a preventive measure because we were going to have a lot of press and athletes and it’s an open space.”
As it turned out, there were no sizable protests in Rio, either against President Dilma Rousseff – or against Nike?s new Brazil kit.
The new shirts will be available from next week for 60 pounds, the shorts for 28 and the socks for 13, but fans might prefer to stick with Premier League shirts at UKSoccershop.com