Sunday night saw France play their final Group A game in Euro 2016, against Switzerland. While they are the hosts of the competition, that doesn’t necessarily mean that Didier Deschamps’ side are the ‘home’ team for each match and they were forced to change kit – despite the fact that other red-v-blue match-ups have been allowed during the tournament and the apocalypse was avoided.
On the left below is the ‘real’ France away kit, marketed since the spring; on the right is what was used against the Swiss, with the sleeves toned down, so much so that they look grey from a distance.
The answer came from Yellow Away Kit on Twitter, after a quick perusal of Twitter:
Clearly, the FFF had been informed of UEFA before the championship started that their away would have to be modified, as this graphic, released by UEFA, shows the alternative version. It would appear that commercial considerations took precedent, though. One would assume that the same situation will pertain for the remainder of the Euros and for the World Cup qualifiers, effectively leaving France with a strip which can only be worn in friendlies.
There is a precedent of sorts in Gaelic games in Ireland. In 2010, Cork launched a new shirt and, soon after, a white change top was released, with navy oddly prominent, especially as it had been jettisoned as a trim colour from the red shirt:
In the GAA, alternative shirts are only used when required, so the white only got an outing when Cork’s minor (under-18) football team played Armagh in an All-Ireland quarter-final. However, the senior team reached the All-Ireland against Down, who wear red and black, meaning both counties had to change. Down wore saffron and black, the traditional colours of their province Ulster, while Cork opted for white, but with some modifications.
County chairman Jerry O’Sullivan outlined the reasons to this writeroutlined the reasons to this writer but, while the article stated that the jerseys would not go on sale, a 0-16 to 0-15 for Cork saw a change of heart.
That should have been the end of it, but in March 2011, Cork met Down again in a national league game and wore the white and navy shirts (note goalkeeper Ken O’Halloran wearing white too). That summer, the All-Ireland draw again pitted Cork against Down but this time a a version similar to the 2010 final was worn, albeit without cuffs and with the GAA logo in its more usual petrol blue colour.
Further reading on a similar, but slightly different, subject comes from friend of the site Jay, who wrote a blog for Design Football on modifying home kits for cup finals, with a kit design competition run as a result.