Charity begins away from home

Gambling sponsor logos on football shirts

It's staggering how the human species often chooses not to do something simple when the alternative is far more difficult or inappropriate. Whether receiving a vaccine to protect oneself from a deadly virus or electing someone to run a country that isn't a total cretin, Team Human sometimes gets it inexplicably wrong.

The same applies to the world of football kit design, where a small group of humans are showing an Olympic standard of ignorance through their complete stupidity. The group in question, known collectively as 'The Premier League', have been asked by the British homeless charity Shelter to approve one simple thing. On December 26th, Shelter would like all top-flight teams playing at home to wear their away kit or third kit. The reason? To raise awareness of the 180,000 or more households that have lost their homes since the start of the pandemic. Financial help for the charity is generated from the auctioning off of unworn home shirts.

A great idea for a great cause... or so you'd think. "The Premier League receives a large number of requests from charities every season however we aren't able to support all centrally" said a Premier League spokesman. "Clubs are entitled to support charitable causes, and we encourage clubs to do so, provided it is in compliance with Premier League rules" he went on.

Without doubt the Premier League must be constantly inundated by a huge number of requests from charities across the UK and around the world. Undertaking to promote a great many of them would surely be complicated, time-consuming and logistically challenging.

Yet it’s the last part of that statement that has the most potency - “in compliance with Premier League rules.” Those rules state that where possible, teams playing at home should prioritise the wearing of their home kit. An entirely feasible aim under normal circumstances, but this is a special cause that would gain much valuable exposure during the much-anticipated Boxing Day fixtures.

So here’s a suggestion: why not hand the responsibility for choice of kit over to the clubs involved and let them work things out for themselves? It surely isn’t beyond the capabilities of competing teams to engage in correspondence over which kits get worn for this one day in the calendar? As long as the Premier League are given sufficient notice about who’s wearing which colours, it really needn’t be a problem. It certainly isn’t a problem for the EFL who have said they’re happy for their clubs to get involved in the campaign.

And a reminder here: we are living in an age when many clubs have three kits to choose from in any given season. It’s not like Premier League teams are going to be scrabbling around looking for something to wear that won’t cause a colour clash on the field. Let’s see some of those third kits getting an airing for a good cause and put the petty bureaucracy to one side. Shelter stand to help out a great many disadvantaged people through this event, and the Premier League have no need to stand in its way.

To show your own support for Shelter during the current UK housing emergency, consider wearing an away shirt of your own and tweet about it with the hashtag #NoHomeKit this Boxing Day. Whatever the Premier League decides to do, make sure you play your part by helping out in this small but vital way.

City photo created by jcomp -