English Football League clubs will be able to wear away kits at home next season after voting through a change in regulations designed to aid colour blind people. It is hoped players, staff, officials and spectators will benefit.
EFL clubs passed the motion at their annual general meeting in Cheshire on Friday. The change allows teams to change strips to avoid a kit clash that would be problematic. It is thought the Premier League has no plans to follow suit but its rulebook advises that clubs should wear kits that provide a sufficient contrast for colour blind players, match officials and spectators. Colour blindness affects approximately one in 12 men and one in 200 women.
The EFL’s move has been welcomed by the non-profit organisation Colour Blind Awareness, which cited both legs of the League One playoff semi-final between Sunderland and Sheffield Wednesday as the most-recent problematic clash for colour blind people.
Its CEO, Kathryn Albany-Ward, said the decision was “fantastic news” and “a huge step forward” and urged other leagues and governing bodies to follow suit. “We know that statistically at least one player in every male squad is colour blind and these regulation changes will make some ties easier for these players too, thereby improving overall performance of the teams,” she said.
Previous EFL regulations stipulated that clubs had to wear their home kit for every home match with the exception of one a season to accommodate commemorative kits or those linked to charities.
Last November Plymouth Argyle and Rochdale agreed to alter kits for their televised FA Cup second-round match to allow colour blind viewers to better distinguish between the two teamsand create a “more inclusive viewing experience”. Rochdale wore their regular blue home kit and Argyle, whose home kit is mainly green, their all-white away strip. Serie A has banned teams from wearing predominantly green kits from next season.
Last October World Rugby announced plans to stop Wales and Ireland wearing their red and green kits when playing each other by the 2027 World Cup.
The EFL said: “A home club will now be able to wear its away or third kit where a clash may occur that would make it difficult for people who are colour blind to differentiate between the kits worn by both teams. The amendment also allows clubs to further mix and match elements of their registered kits in order to avoid kit clashes.”
In other decisions taken, the league added a disqualifying condition in its owners’ and directors’ test for those convicted of a hate crime and said the number of permitted substitutions would rise from three to five, still from seven substitutes.