The new replica England shirt, to be worn in Brazil at the World Cup finals, has been launched to a storm of criticism, with its cost meaning fans could be set back by up to £90.
Shadow sports minister Clive Efford said the price of the shirts was “disappointing” while QPR midfielder Joey Barton called it “appalling”.
The Nike shirt costs £90 for the “match shirt” identical to the ones that will be worn by players with an adult “stadium” England shirt priced at £60. Shirts for children between eight and 15 cost £42 with mini-kits priced at £40.
Efford said: “I’m disappointed that fans are being asked to pay up to £90 for a new England shirt. The game of football seems to be increasingly about profit and commercialism rather than the community and the fans, who have sustained football for many generations.”
The previous Nike kit has only been around since last May – seven England matches – after the manufacturer took over from Umbro, and Efford said that also hit parents hard.
He added: “The frequency with which these kits are changed adds to the expense. When it comes to buying for more than one child it gets extremely expensive and people on moderate or low incomes are excluded from that privilege.”
Barton said on Twitter: “£90 for the new England shirt is taking the mickey out of the fans. When will it stop? Appalling. In my opinion. Football again allows commercialism to eat away at its soul. Something has got to give.”
The Football Association said it avoids any involvement with kit manufacturers about pricing. Nike is selling other national team kits, such as Portugal’s, for exactly the same prices.
The FA said in a statement: “The FA is a not-for-profit organisation that puts £100 million back into the game every year. It is through relationships with partners such as Nike that we are able to maintain that level of investment in football.
“The FA’s policy is to avoid any involvement with how its partners/licensees set their prices, so as to avoid any risk of or implications of price fixing.”
The FA and its kit manufacturers usually have a policy of there being at least 18 months between new kits, and sources close to the governing body said Nike always made it clear the shirt released last May after it had taken over from Umbro was for only 12 months.
The £90 shirts have enhanced “cooling technology” compared to the £60 shirts, according to Nike’s website.
A Football Supporters’ Federation spokesman said: “Fans with kids often argue that strips are changed too often. The FSF would advocate manufactures incorporating a ‘best before’ date into the strip’s label. Supporters buying a strip would then know exactly what they’re paying for and be able to make a decision based on that.”
England fans’ spokesman Mark Perryman said sales of the shirts would be based more on the team’s performance at the World Cup than the price. Perryman said: “Personally, I think the prices are ridiculous compared to what they cost to produce but, if England do poorly at the World Cup, then just wait – the price will plummet.”