Mind the gap – dealing with sponsorship changes for Europe

We hadn’t planned to write articles in the wake of every European away game played by Rangers this season (previous offerings here and here), but each outing seems to provide something worthy of comment.

Unfortunately, friend of the site Alex Anderson didn’t have his wish come true…

…but for the third time, the Gers were playing in a country where gambling advertising is banned.

With their red and orange kits, it wasn’t too much of a design problem, but against the red of Ufa they were wearing their white away shirt, which features a blue and red sash.

The fear might have been that they would have a blank white rectangle across the midriff (like Anderlecht in 1993-94l) but, thankfully, the gap was filled.



It called to mind two examples from the 1990s where big clubs had taken opposite approaches to dealing with Uefa-enforced sponsorship changes, made all the more interesting given that they were promoting the same brand.

In 1995-96, AC Milan’s new away shirt featured a pair of vertical stripes, one red and one black, down the middle of the torso. The stripes were broken for the Opel logo, but in Europe the lightning-bolt-in-a-circle wasn’t allowed due to advertising size restrictions and so the stripes extended further to meet the wordmark.


Incidentally, Milan wore this away to Bordeaux in the quarter-finals – earlier in the competition, they had met Sparta Prague, who were also sponsored by Opel, but as Uefa prohibited team competing clubs from advertising the same brand while playing against each other, they had worn sponsorless versions of the previous plain white away shirt in Prague.

Also partnered with Opel at the time were Bayern Munich, but they, or adidas, had a more careless approach. While their 1998-99 Champions League campaign will always be most associated with the silver kit worn in the final against Manchester United in the Nou Camp, they wore their white and red change strip the first time they visited Barcelona that season, for a group game.

However, it was simply a case of changing the logo and leaving a gap in the navy stripe which had previously been interrupted (note also how the default socks had too much adidas branding for Uefa’s liking, leading to a more prosaic set being used in the Champions League).



From 1999-2000, Uefa allowed a larger area for logos, meaning that the Opel insignia didn’t have to be altered.

1 comment on “Mind the gap – dealing with sponsorship changes for Europe

  1. fateck

    Delighted to see the Gers in such company … although we had to completely remove our betting company logo while Milan and Bayern actually worked around their restrictions.

    It had never even registered with me (sorry – not a pun on “registered” company. Rangers fans have a “limited” tolerance for corporate jibes these days) that the Opel flash was coming and going on these kits … even when Bayern left the space blank. That’s as much testimony to the ubiquity of that sponsor’s logo – I just see the flash whenever I see “Opel” in that font – and the kit design as it is to do with my myopia.

    Just as I would never have thought about the possibility of Rangers leaving that sash (not The sash, the one my father wore [he never wore one]) with a space on it on Thursday … just because they didn’t.

    I would surely have noted the difference, however, in those Bayern socks. Mainly coz the sponsorship-addled ones are so much cooler.

    Individual countries are quite right to have advertising regulations re booze and gambling. But what a nerve from UEFA, trying to pretend they’re about anything other than as much dough as possible from wherever they can get it.

    Well done the clubs and the kit designers for making it look so good – and still making us see only the club – no matter the density of logos on their kit.


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