Why does the Nike England football kit at centre of flag controversy cost so much?

England unveiled their new kit for Euro 2024 on Monday. Credit: England Football

By ITV News producer Elliot Turnbull

England's new football kit may have caused controversy over Nike’s recolouring of the St George’s cross, but the cost of the shirt has also been heavily criticised. 

A standard England shirt ahead of Euro 2024 will cost fans £84.99. That is £20 more than the kit England wore four years ago, when England lost to Italy in the final of Euro 2020.

The junior equivalent costs £64.99 from the official England online store.

England's kit at Euro 2020 was £20 cheaper. Credit: PA Images

Nike has also released an 'authentic' shirt, which has "lightweight, quick-drying technology to help keep you cool and comfortable on the field", according to the manufacturer.

This will set fans back £124.99 for men's, and only £5 cheaper at £119.99 for the kid's version. 

Back in 2020, adult Replica shirts cost £64.99 from the England store. A year later, that increased to £69.95 each. That stayed the same in 2022, before increasing to £74.95 last year.

This means that England’s National Team now has the most expensive standard football shirt in the country. 

Previously, Manchester United, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Fulham charged the most for their new kits at £80 each when launched.

Are other nations’ shirts as expensive? 

Yes, the price rises are in line with other European national teams.

At the European Championships, France, Portugal, The Netherlands, Poland and Norway will join England is wearing Nike kits, and the cost of £84.99 for a standard shirt, and £124.99 for an authentic shirt is the same across the board. 

Germany, Italy and Belgium’s new kits are made by Adidas. The majority of their standard shirts are slightly cheaper at £80, and most of their authentic shirts are £120. Scotland's standard home kit is £75. 

Domestic teams like Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal and Chelsea have also seen similar price increases. 

The average price of a standard adult replica top for the 2023-24 season has increased by an average of 12 per cent across the Premier League, compared to last season. The price of junior tops have also increased by an average of nine per cent.

Why are football shirts becoming more expensive? 

Manchester United's Adidas standard shirt is £80, with the authentic version costing £120. Credit: PA Images

Ezekiel Downes has been collecting football shirts for the past four years. He thinks that the price increase is due to demand. 

"I think prices are rising mainly because we still buy them. Even though most of us have less money, we feel like we need the new kits every year. 

"When it came out I saw that they were out of stock in some sizes."

He feels that the popularity of collecting football shirts since lockdown has a role to play in this.

"A lot of people are buying these shirts every year," he says.

"Nike may have noticed in the last three, four years that there's been a real boom in collecting since lockdown. It's growing massively and I think they've noticed that lots of people buy the new one every year, regardless of price, regardless of how it looks.

"They are capitalising on that. I think it is awful. And parents can't really be paying that much for the children’s kit, especially if they've got more than one child. If they want the new one each year, it’s really not possible for the parent."

England's full Admiral kit worn between 1974-1980 cost £6.90 in 1974. Credit: PA Images

But, have football shirts always been quite expensive? In 1974, you could buy the Admiral England shirt, shorts and socks for £6.98.

Adjusted to inflation that is equivalent to £90 today, although it does include more than just the shirt.

Brands have also blamed the rising costs on inflation, citing that the materials and labour used to make these shirts have increased in price.

In 2020, the Mirror reported that England's shirts were made by factory workers in Thailand who were paid just £1 an hour.

ITV News has contacted Nike for a comment.

Labour have joined football fans in calling for cheaper football shirts. Sir Keir Starmer has asked Nike to reduce the price, and Yasmin Qureshi MP wrote to the FA asking them to reconsider their licensing agreement with Nike.

She said how "my working-class Bolton children cannot afford the replica shirts, let alone the eye watering costs of the authentic shirts".

"They will be shut out of part of the experience," she said.

The Football Supporters' Association are also calling for football shirt prices to be reviewed.

“We believe suppliers should put a 'sell by' date on kits to make it clear how long they will be in use before being changed.

"An unwitting parent could easily buy a kit for Christmas or a birthday only to find it’s ‘old’ within a matter of months.

“Clubs such as Brentford, who have previously committed to a two-year cycle, set a good example for reducing costs and waste too as a club doesn’t just produce a home kit – there are multiple away kits, keeper tops and training gear.

It’s a lot of stuff to discard after one season", they added.

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