Premier League rules on kits

A while ago friend of the site Phil sent me some really useful info on Premier League kit 08-09 rules. With all the talk here about kit clashes etc I thought it might make interesting reading. He makes the following observations.

1. There is no rule stating that a marketed strip must be worn. Therefore don’t be surprised if some kits are never used.
2. 3rd kits may only be worn if the Premier League gets notice in writing at least 7 days prior to the match in question.
3. There is no definition of a kit clash. Its up to the kit managers and then match officials, hence the inconsistency.
4. Surprisingly, there is already a rule in place saying change kits can only be worn in away matches and when there is a clash. Only the match officials can give permission for a change.
5. A change kit may only be worn a maximum of EIGHT times during one season unless necessity suggests otherwise. This decision lies with match officials.
6. A home and away kit must be presented to the Premier League at least 4 weeks before the season starts, hence why unexpected kit clashes fail to revive previous seasons kits.

I’ve cut and pasted the relevant text taken from the Premier League 08-09 Handbook – available for free download from their website:,,12306,2,00.html


Player Identification
1. Before the commencement of each Season each Club shall allocate a different shirt number to each member of its first team squad.

2. A Club shall likewise allocate a shirt number to any Player joining its first team squad during the Season.

3. Save with the prior written consent of the Board shirt numbers shall commence with the number one and shall be allocated consecutively.

4. While he remains with the Club a Player will retain his shirt number throughout the Season for which it was allocated.

5. Upon a Player leaving a Club the shirt number allocated to him may be re-allocated.

6. Each Club shall forthwith provide to the Secretary on Form 8 full details in writing of shirt numbers allocated so that throughout each Season the Secretary is aware of the names of members of the first team squad of each Club and the shirt numbers allocated to them.

7. When playing in League Matches each Player shall wear a shirt on the back of which shall be prominently displayed his shirt number and above that his surname or such other name as may be approved in writing by the Board.

8. The Player’s shirt number shall also appear on the front of the left leg of his shorts.

9. The size, style, colour and design of shirt numbers, lettering and the logo of the League appearing on a Player’s shirt or shorts and the material from which such numbers, lettering and logo are made shall be determined by the Board from time to time.

10. The colour and design of the shirt and stockings worn by the goalkeeper when playing in League Matches shall be such as to distinguish him from the other Players and from Match Officials.

11. The captain of each team appearing in a League Match shall wear an armband provided by the League indicating his status as such.

12. Any Club acting in breach of any of Rules F.1 to F.11 inclusive will be liable to pay to the League a fixed penalty of £300 for a first breach, £600 for a second breach and £1,200 for a third breach. Any subsequent breach may be dealt under the provisions of Section R.

Home and Away Strip
13. Each Club shall have a home Strip and an away Strip which shall be worn by its Players in League Matches in accordance with the provisions of these Rules.

14. The logo of the League shall appear on each sleeve of both home Strip and away Strip shirts.

15. Neither the home Strip shirt nor the away Strip shirt shall be of a colour or design alike or similar to the outfits of Match Officials.

16. Not later than 4 weeks before the commencement of each Season each Club shall register its Strips by submitting to the Secretary Form 9 together with samples of its home Strip, away Strip and goalkeeper’s Strip complying with these Rules and a brief written description of each and the Secretary having entered the descriptions in a register will cause the same to be printed in the handbook of the League.

17. Each Strip submitted for registration in accordance with Rule F.16 shall have on it:
17.1 the shirt number and name of any Player in the Club’s first team squad, displayed as required by Rule F.7;
17.2 any advertisement for which the approval of the Board is either sought or has already been given under the provisions of Rule F.28.1.

18. If pursuant to Rule F.16 a Club seeks to register a Strip which does not comply with these Rules:
18.1 the Board shall give to that Club notice in writing to that effect giving full details of the changes required to achieve compliance; and
18.2 the Strip in question shall not be worn by that Club’s Players until a further sample has been submitted to and approved in writing by the Board.

19. Subject to Rule F.20, Strips of the description thus registered shall be worn throughout the Season immediately following and no changes to it shall be made except with the prior written permission of the Board.

20. On the occasion of a Club’s last home League Match in any Season an alternative Strip may be worn provided that:
20.1 at least 7 days’ prior written notice of intention to do so is given to the Secretary and the Visiting Club together in each case with a sample of the Strip intended to be worn;
20.2 the alternative Strip shall be subsequently registered as the Club’s home or away Strip for the following Season.

21. Subject to Rules F.20 and F.22, when playing in League Matches the Players of each participating Club shall wear its home Strip unless the home Strips of the participating Clubs are alike or similar or are in the opinion of the referee likely to cause confusion in which event Players of theVisiting Club shall wear its away Strip or a combination of its home Strip and its away Strip. In the event of any dispute with regard to the Strip to be worn by either Club, the referee’s decision shall be final.

22. Players of theVisiting Club may wear its away Strip when playing in League Matches provided that they shall not do so on more than 8 occasions in any Season, including those occasions, if any, when required to do so by virtue of the foregoing provisions of Rule F.21. For the avoidance of doubt, nothing in this Rule shall limit the number of occasions a Club may be required to change its Strip pursuant to Rule F.21.

23. At least 7 days prior to each League Match the Visiting Club shall notify the Home Club on Form 9A of the Strip it intends its Players (including for the avoidance of doubt its goalkeeper) to wear. If the Home Club is of the opinion that this is likely to cause confusion it shall immediately notify the League.

24. Subject to Rule F.20, no Club shall participate in a League Match wearing Strip other than its registered home Strip or away Strip or a combination of the two except with the prior written consent of the Board.

Third Strip
25. Each Club may have a third Strip in addition to its home Strip and its away Strip.

26. The provisions of Rules F.14, F.15 and F.16 shall apply to any third Strip as well as to home Strip and away Strip.

27. A Club’s third Strip may be worn by its Players in League Matches only with the prior written consent of the Board.

Strip Advertising
28. Provided that:
28.1 the content, design and area of the advertisement is approved by the Board; and
28.2 it complies with the Football Association Rules for the time being in force; advertising on Strip shall be permitted.

31 Replies to “Premier League rules on kits

  1. 15. Neither the home Strip shirt nor the away Strip shirt shall be of a colour or design alike or similar to the outfits of Match Officials.

    Try telling that to the referee from the Arsenal v Blackburn game, who decided to wear a black kit when Blackburn turned up, somewhat strangely, in navy.

  2. Jon:

    20. On the occasion of a Club’s last home League Match in any Season an alternative Strip may be worn provided that:
    20.1 at least 7 days’ prior written notice of intention to do so is given to the Secretary and the Visiting Club together in each case with a sample of the Strip intended to be worn;
    20.2 the alternative Strip shall be subsequently registered as the Club’s home or away Strip for the following Season.

  3. This is purely a marketing ploy by the club.
    If people see the kit before the season starts it will bring in much needed revenue from the sales of the kit,during the close season.

  4. Can anybody confirm the following please?
    I seem to recall a televised match at Bramall Lane where Sheff Utd were playing,and the away team`s kit clashed,so the away team used Sheff Weds kit for the match.
    I cant remember who the away team are tho`,but id guess at being in the very ealy 80s,or late 70s.

  5. Anyone remember when Sheffield United premiered their new home kit against Wigan on the last day of the 06/07 season, complete with new style Premiership fonts? That’s a sure fire example of a team wearing a new kit on the last day of the season and it backfiring as they got relegated and wore the kit thereafter with Football League fonts instead!

    The one that really confuses me is when you see teams wear their new kit for next season on the penultimate match, and then for the last day, wear their soon-to-be old kit, even when they’re continuing with the same manufacturer and sponsor!

  6. That’s because they can only do it in the last home game, which might be their second-last game altogether.

    I remember in 99 Spurs wore their new adidas kit against Chelsea in their second-last game before reverting to the Pony kit at Old Trafford the following week

  7. Spurs also previewed an away shirt at home to sunderland on the final day of the 99/00 season, it was the Navy adidas one.

  8. And in the final game of 02-03 they wore the sky blue Kappa kit, forcing Blackburn to wear their red away, so both teams were in their aways.

    In 05-06, Blackburn forgot to bring their away but rather than change Spurs wore their home, which featured navy sleeves that season, what a joke

  9. I remember Fulham wore their sky blue away kit for 04/05 in their final home game of the 03/04 season against Arsenal, who if I recall turned up in yellow.

  10. I love seeing the new kits premiered at the end of the season – always a big highlight for me in the 80s/90s (doesn’t seem to happen too much now) was seeing next season’s kit being worn in the Cup Final. It was the perfect opportunity to showcase the design. Plus in those days the media never commented on the kits at all, let alone new ones – and it always amazed me that the commentators weren’t as excited by the new strip as I was!

  11. Hello Craig – just seen your message re the Sheff Utd game – sounds plausible to me – some strange things have happened when it comes to kit clashes and borrowing kits. I’ll see what I can find out.

  12. Chelsea won’t be premiering their new home strip as planned in the Cup Final as they lost the toss and will wear yellow. From what I have seen next years kits are the usual Blue for the home strip, white with black hooped pinstripes on the away with a curious blue and black hooped third shirt with Flourescent trim. Maybe Everton will wear their new Le Coq Sportif kit???

  13. Following on from my previous comment about the referee wearing black when Blackburn wore their navy kit, yesterday was another prime example – Phil Dowd wore a black ref kit which clashed with Newcastle’s predominantly black kit, I had trouble telling them apart.

    He should have worn yellow, or green. At least Pepe Reina knew the rules, he wore his green kit rather than his usual black.

  14. There is no clash between Dowd and Newcastle.

    No Ref ever changed in Newcastle matches prior to the inception of the Premier League, so there really is no need to do so nowadays.

    What did seem odd to me whilst watching the Championship was Barnet wearing Black and Port Vale wearing their Navy away kit, at least the officials were in yellow!

  15. It wasn’t an issue in the past, absolutely granted, but the problem lies with Newcastle’s current shirt being predominantly black when viewed from behind. Any other time in the Premier League this season the referee has worn either yellow or green when Newcastle wore their home kit.

    Earlier this season there was a similar instance with Dowd wearing black, when Newcastle hosted Hull City in the FA Cup. What was ironic is that Hull were told to find a third kit for that tie (last season’s white away kit) to avoid a repeat of the colour clash problem from earlier in the season, when they wore their flint grey away kit.

    There are of course thousands of instances where the goalkeeper wears the same colour shirt as the referee, but this is very rarely enforced.

    But moving swiftly on, I saw that Barnet v Port Vale game and was surprised the referee allowed it to continue. It isn’t the first time Port Vale have caused a kit clash issue this season, as their home strip has been causing trouble in a few matches.

  16. I think the rule : “5. A change kit may only be worn a maximum of EIGHT times during one season unless necessity suggests otherwise. This decision lies with match officials” is interesting.

  17. I don’t think “5. A change kit may only be worn a maximum of EIGHT times during one season unless necessity suggests otherwise. This decision lies with match officials.” is true.

    I’m sure for the 2004-05 season that Norwich wore their dark green away kit in every away Premier League match – and I don’t think it was “necessary” in any of the games, due to their yellow home strip.

  18. I always found it strange that when Arsnal played away at Blackburn, they never wore the red home kit due to the clash of white shortsm preferring instead to wear an away kit with loads of blue on the shirt.

    On the Blackburn theme, that white away kit last season was a strange choice considering that our home kit is predominantly white thankfully the club are returning to a red away strip for nexy season.

  19. Hello Eddie – yes, Arsenal NEVER wear change home shorts these days – always prefer to go for the away kit. I too am glad though to see Rovers back in red, although they’ve sported navy quite a bit in recent years I prefer to see an away kit that actually provides an alternative to a clash!

  20. I remember in the opening game of the 2005/06 season, Chelsea were away at Wigan so wore their black away kit and Petr Cech wore a black goalkeeper kit

  21. “15. Neither the home Strip shirt nor the away Strip shirt shall be of a colour or design alike or similar to the outfits of Match Officials”

    Howcome all premiership clubs have had a black kit in the last 3yrs?

  22. I remember in 2003-2004 that Fulham wore there black away kit at home against Newcastle, while Newcastle wore their grey third kit. Why was that a problem, surely Fulham could have worn the home kit and Newcastle worn their black away shirt?

  23. I remember that Reading whore there training shorts and socks at Sheffield United, because Reading’s shorts and socks were white – and Sheffield United’s were white. According to a Reading FC Podcast – Reading were going to play in Sheffield United’s away shorts and socks – but Neil Warnock stopped Reading from doing so.

  24. Does anyone know anything regarding FA legislation about clubs changing their kit each season? I.e. can a club change their kit every season or is there a law that states they have to keep the same kit for at least two years

  25. The rule regarding a team wearing a new kit for their last game of the season began in 1999. It only applied to the home team, so teams were able to wear it for the second last game of the season if they were playing at home and revert back to their current kit for the last game. However, this brought a lot of problems for the FA and Tottenham Hotspur specifically. For season 1998/9, Spurs wore Pony kits and were sponsored by Hewlett Packard. But for their last home game of the season they wore their new Adidas kit with Holsten as the sponsors (which would replace the kit and shirt sponsor the following season). As Spurs were still in sponsorship deals with Pony and Hewlett Packard, they broke their contracts and had to pay compensation. So the FA changed the rules and now, a team can only wear a new kit at the end of the season PROVIDING it’s made by the same kit company and boasting the same sponsor. At the end of the 2012/13 season, only Liverpool (home kit) and Stoke City (away kit) wore new strips.

    @Hugh Evans: that rule was relaxed several years ago. As long as the kits are registered with the FA, there’s nothing stopping a club changing all their kits every season like Liverpool and Chelsea now do.

  26. An alarming number of clubs are now wearing their away or third kit when they don’t have to around Christmas. As someone said, it’s a clever marketing ploy by the clubs to sell shirts. At least the FA hasn’t gone down the Bundesliga route (yet) by allowing clubs to issue a “Christmas” home or away kit that teams wear once or twice!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *