Whether it’s the final of the Champions League or a Sunday League fixture, no football match can kick off without all the players wearing the correct kit.
The correct kit is not only important due to the rules of the Football Association, but also a vital element for football fans who associate the team kit with famous moments, historic teams, and priceless memories.
But with professional clubs now playing more fixtures in a calendar year than ever before, the demand to have a freshly cleaned kit is at an all-time high for Premier League clubs.
So do football teams re-use kits from previous games? And what happens to previous kits from past seasons/tournaments?
Join us as we look at the lifespan of a Premier League team’s kit and how often they receive brand new ones throughout the season.
Do Footballers Wear a New Kit Every Game?
Professional footballers in the top European leagues wear a new kit every game, with certain kits printed for special occasions like cup fixtures, Champions League matches, or league meetings.
From the Premier League to League 2, new football kits may have unique markings or sponsorship symbols, depending on which competition or league they are playing in.
Many of the teams in the English Football League and Non-League may use the same kit for one or two games to minimize the cost involved. Every professional club has a kit man who ensures that the players have a clean kit at all times.
Do Premier League Teams Get New Kits Every Game?
Premier League clubs use a new kit every game for their players as each player will have three jerseys brought for them by the appointed club kit man.
Washing and re-using jerseys can add up financially for some clubs with David Moyes’ Sunderland A.F.C famously spending over £54,000 on washing kits in the 2016-17 season – the same season they were relegated.
Sunderland fielded a large number of players this season, further causing the club to use more kits due to the player demand – furthermore increasing the cost of washing the kits for a year.
Do Professional Footballers Wash Their Kit?
Although professional players can choose to keep their used kit as a token of memorabilia or respect, they still do not wash their own kits.
This role is usually given to the kit man if the club chooses to not simply use a new kit every game, with clubs from the Premier League down to the Isthmian League all having kit men and other backroom staff to help with this aspect of running the football club.
What Does a Kitman Do in Football?
A kit man is a part of the backroom staff whose responsibility is to take care of player equipment, including jerseys, socks, shorts, boots, and shin-pads.
For Premier League clubs, kit men are required to provide each player with three jerseys – one per half of the game and a spare for emergencies. Players can choose to keep the same jersey on however the kit man will still need to provide the correct gear regardless of each player’s preference.
Depending on the level of the football club, a kit man may also be responsible for managing training equipment such as balls, training cones, and goal netting.
The Kit man’s role has changed significantly since the late 90’s where their main role was to wash, recondition and layout the kit for players. With professional clubs now able to financially provide their players with multiple kits, the kit man has adapted to ensure players receive the correct amount of kits for each game.
What Happens to Football Shirts After a Match?
After a match, players will often trade their jerseys with other players as a sign of respect whilst other used kits are auctioned by the club for charities. Kits that have been worn in important matches or special moments are often purchased by avid collectors and kept as memorabilia.
Nowadays, jerseys are worn once in the top European leagues as the clubs choose to answer requests from charities for shirts to be donated.
The most recent example is that of Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah, who has announced that he will auction off his shirt from Liverpool’s 5-0 win over Manchester United in October, to raise money for an animal shelter.
Players will often keep their kits or that of their opponents after a significant match or important competition, however, this can cause some controversy.
Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo received criticism from pundits and supporters for swapping his jersey with former Real Madrid teammate Karim Benzema at half-time of a match. The two friends met as opposition in the Euro 2020 fixture between Portugal and France in Budapest, despite many understanding the gesture, the two still received criticism due to the game still taking place and neither side winning at the time.