Keir Starmer calls for Nike to scrap England football kit with 'updated' St George's Cross

22 March 2024, 05:44 | Updated: 22 March 2024, 05:46

Keir Starmer has called for the new England kit to be changed
Keir Starmer has called for the new England kit to be changed. Picture: Alamy/Nike

By Kit Heren

Keir Starmer has waded into the row over the new England football kits, as he called for the "updated" cross of St George to be changed back.

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The Labour leader said the new football kit design, which was shared on social media earlier this week, was a mistake.

Located on the back of the shirt collar, the cross is interwoven with several different colours: red, purple, blue and black.

Asked if he thought that Nike was wrong to change the colour, he said: "Yeah, I think it was," he said.

"As you know, I'm a big football fan. I go to England games - men's and women's games - and the flag is used by everybody.

“It is a unifier. It doesn’t need to be changed. We just need to be proud of it.

“So, I think they should just reconsider this and change it back. I’m not even sure they can properly explain why they thought they needed to change it in the first place," he told The Sun’s YouTube channel.

He also called for the retail price of the replica kits to be reduced from its current level - £124.99.

Keir Starmer is a football fan
Keir Starmer is a football fan. Picture: Getty

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The England squad are set to wear the new kit for the first time in their friendly against Brazil on Saturday.

Sharing the new kit designs on Monday, Nike said they would “celebrate football heroes of the past with a modern twist”.

A spokesman for the brand said the colour choices for the kit were a nod to England’s 1966 World Cup victory.

They said: “The England 2024 Home kit disrupts history with a modern take on a classic.

“The trim on the cuffs takes its cues from the training gear worn by England’s 1966 heroes, with a gradient of blues and reds topped with purple. The same colours also feature an interpretation of the flag of St. George on the back of the collar.”

Despite fury from fans, there are no known plans to recall the product, which has reportedly ‘flown off shelves’ since its launch on Monday.

It is understood the FA has also backed the change and will “completely stand by it”.

Sources told The Telegraph that there was no connection between the flag’s new colours and the ‘One Love’ rainbow armband Fifa blocked Harry Kane from wearing in support of the LGBTQ+ community in the last World Cup.

Keir Starmer said he did not understand why the colours had been changed on the kit.
Keir Starmer said he did not understand why the colours had been changed on the kit. Picture: Alamy

The colour change has led to a wave of fury from football fans and political figures.

Reform UK MP Anderson labelled the move as “virtue-signalling nonsense”.

“The left have a nerve to ask me why I want my country back,” he told the Daily Express.

“This virtue signalling, namby-pamby, pearl-clutching woke nonsense must stop. Any more of this and I’ll be on the first flight to Rwanda.”

Conservative MP Clarke-Smith said: “Maybe somebody in the design department misheard Three Lions and instead went for three lines on a shirt.

“I’m not sure what this is supposed to be, but it certainly looks nothing like our flag and I’m not sure it needs an ‘update’ either.

“That said, I doubt they’ll shift many at those sort of prices.”

Meanwhile, fans criticised the new design online, as one wrote: “I find this insulting. How dare you change a national flag?”

Another said: “Dreadful - who are you to change our flag? The at George’s flag has been with us since 1606!! Disgraceful.”

One added: "Can you elaborate on how this unites & inspires? I’m thinking the true flag unites & inspires a lot more."

The new kits launched on Monday with a £124.99 price tag for adult sizes and £119.99 for children.

They will be worn by England at Euro 2024, as well as the Lionesses and England Para teams.

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