Every football kit attempts to set a new direction for a club, incorporating tradition and style with a fresh design. Countless hours of market research, testing and changes happen before we finally see the end results. But despite this long and thorough process, some faults are often overlooked until it’s too late. Whether it’s a deliberate design feature, bizarre style choice or a breach in the footballing governing guidelines… Here are the top 5 famous football kits that got banned.
Argentina Home Shirt 1994 by Adidas
Production was suddenly halted of this kit by the Argentina Football Association (AFA) President, Julio Grondona. Due to be worn at the 1994 USA World Cup, the AFA disliked the introduction of the black thin stripes throughout the kit. Stating that the shirt went against the traditional Albiceleste pattern (blue and white stripes previously used). However, the shirt was already on sale and fans were seen wearing the shirt during the tournament. It was ultimately changed and the team wore a new version of this kit. Without the black stripes of course.
Palestino FC Home Shirt 2014 by Training Professional
Accused of being “Anti-Israel” from the outset, Palestino FC launched a new kit featuring numbers shaped to represent the map of Palestine before the creation of Israel. The kit also included colours matching the Palestine flag. The club based in Chile, were issued a fine following complaints made about the involvement of Political and Religious views. The shirt was ultimately banned after 3 games, with the club staying committed to expressing their views on the Middle East region.
Brazil Third away kit 2013-14 by Nike
Ahead of Brazil’s home World Cup, Nike followed a popular kit trend by launched a new black-out third kit. Featuring the iconic 5 stars across the front of the shirt and unusual sleeve badge, it’s still unclear if this shirt was ever intended for use. Following a limited release of the kit, the Brazilian Football Association comprehensively rejected it. Brazil have a long standing rule that only a yellow home and blue away shirt can be used. However, in 2019 Brazil did released a white away shirt. So maybe we were close to seeing Neymar and co wearing this sleek black-out kit.
Cameroon Home Kit 2002 and 2004 by Puma
Cameroon won the 2002 African Cup of Nations but their sleeveless kit took all the headlines. Resembling a tank-top, Puma’s innovative jersey was the first and last of its kind. Shortly after the tournament and with the World Cup fast approaching, FIFA officially denounced the “vests”. It may have been acceptable at the Nations Cup but not on the worldwide stage. The official reason for the ban was the inability to attach the tournament badges to the sleeves. Namely because they didn’t exist!
But it didn’t end there… Puma and Cameroon took on FIFA for a second time in 2004. Introducing a one-piece suit for the 2004 African Cup of Nations. It didn’t take long for Sepp Blatter to get involved stating ‘all shirts and shorts must be separate items of clothing’. So the kit got banned, end of. Well.. not quite. Cameroon claimed they couldn’t alter their onesie in time for the next game, so continued to wear it anyway. This resulted in FIFA issuing a $154,000 fine and -6 point deduction in their world cup qualifying group. Luckily for Cameroon, Puma opened a lawsuit, FIFA dropped the case and we’ve never seen a football shirt onesie ever again. As of yet….
Fiorentina Away Shirt 1992-93 by Lotto
The most famously banned kit of them all. Fiorentina’s 1992-93 away kit by Lotto went under the radar when first introduced. The design itself was fairly conservative for shirts made in the early 90’s, but it came with one major design flaw. The geometric shapes formed Swastikas, a symbol widely recognised with its appropriation by the Nazis. Halfway through the season people started to notice. Many of these kits were destroyed and the away kit was ultimately replaced. Florentina were relegated that season with their form bizarrely dropping off after the away kit was removed. The following statement was made “Fiorentina and the manufacturers, Lotto, would like to underline that the optical effect is purely a matter of chance.” An unfortunate oversight that has now cause the value of the shirts to sky-rocket!
France Away Shirt 2016-17 by Nike
Not quite banned but tediously changed for Euro 2016. The kit had different coloured sleeves which broke FIFA sleeve colour guidelines. France had to wear an amended version of the shirts with light grey sleeves.
China Away Shirt 2018-19 by Nike
This release was stopped and banned by the Chinese FA. Although no official reason was given. Perhaps it was the use of a sacred dragon design or maybe the colour black being considered unlucky in China. Although it was never released or worn, it was too late too stop the sale of the shirt to fans!
Barcelona Away Shirt 2020-21 by Nike
Rejected by the Barcelona board due to its similarities to Real Madrid. The design was inspired by the St-George flag. The following season Barcelona did use a design similar with a larger red and blue cross to avoid those Madrid comparisons.