Young England fans are being “priced out of the game”, an MP has told Telegraph Sport, after Nike’s new England women’s team kit was released on Wednesday with kids’ shirts costing almost £100.
The Lionesses’ home and away kit launch came ahead of July’s Women’s Euros on home soil, which is a once-in-a-generation chance to grow the game, but there are fears the extortionate costs will not be affordable for many fans, especially amidst the ongoing cost of living crisis.
Nike’s “Vapor” adult shirt, the model closest to matching what the players would wear, will cost an eye-watering £114.95, while the more basic “stadium” shirt, traditionally seen by some as the replica, is £74.95 for adults. But the children’s prices have raised eyebrows the most, with the Vapor kit costing £99.95 for kids, and shorts on top of that costing £32.95.
It is understood that it is Nike which has the biggest say in the retail price of the kit. The new kits for several European sides, also manufactured by Nike, were all released on Wednesday, all with a similar pricing structure.
In France and Holland, the Vapor kits for adults were fractionally more expensive based on the current exchange rate, priced at €139.90 [£118.86]. But Nike is facing calls to think again.
“It is another example of young people being priced out of supporting their team,” said Sunderland Central MP Julie Elliott, a member of the Commons Select Committee for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
“We are coming up to a major tournament, with record-breaking sales to see the Lionesses compete for the Euros in this country in the summer, but with shirts costing so much, it will price people out of showing their support.
“We want to see everyone get behind the team, but this does make it that little bit harder, especially when costs are rising everywhere else too. Nike should think again about the prices.”
Reacting to the prices, Carol West, the chair of the FA Women’s National League, said on social media: “Hardly ‘For All’ is it?!” in reference to the FA’s ‘for all’ slogan.
Nike and the Football Association have been contacted for comment.
The England women’s team have worn their own, bespoke kit purpose-made for them since 2019, rather than playing in an identical kit to the men’s side.
In December 2016, Nike secured a 12-year contract extension to its deal with the FA worth a reported £400 million, to take the partnership up to at least 2030. That partnership has helped enable the FA to invest heavily in the women’s game in recent years, but now the question is, at what cost to kit-loving supporters?
Disappointed fans on Twitter labeled the kit prices as “outrageous” and an “absolute joke”, while others expressed their love for the latest design.
Meanwhile, the FA has announced that the Lionesses’ base for July’s Euros will be the Lensbury Resort, a luxury hotel on the River Thames in Teddington, southwest London, which has previously housed the England men’s rugby side.
Sarina Wiegman’s team will be based at the national football center in St George’s Park, ahead of July 6’s opening game at Old Trafford, but then they will relocate to the Lensbury Resort for the remainder of their campaign. The location has been chosen largely because England’s second and third group games will be in Brighton and Southampton, ahead of a potential quarter-final in either Brighton or Brentford.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.