While the rules of how the game of football is played as somewhat stayed the same.
One aspect has undergone many changes ever since the sport was founded years ago.
These is the kits, where at one point players would take to the field with whatever clothing they had on them.
Nowadays it is far more professional than that.
As even at grassroots level, every team will have a kit that is used on game day.
However where it can get confusing is at the top of the football pyramid.
Teams at the top can as many as three.
One labeled home, another being away and the last being alternate.
For you to be here now, your likely wondering what is the purpose of these kits.
Plus when does each team have to wear each of these kits.
So from their home kit to their third kit, I will take you through the rules when it concerns kits and when they must be used.
Why Do Different Football Kits Exist?
The answer to this is quite simple, and that is to make sure that when two sides play against each other there are no kit clashes.
If you play football like me, you may have experienced a time when everyone was wearing the same kit or same colour clothes in a game.
Maybe you were playing on concrete at school or just down a local park.
Either way, if you have you will know how hard it is to play.
As you just can’t make out who is on each team.
Now its for this reason, that the FA changed their rules in the late 1960s for teams to mix their shirts.
This was done to eliminate the issue of teams wearing kits that completely clashed with each other.
Which was a great rule change, as not only is it hard to watch a game where two teams have similar colors but also close to impossible to play.
So nowadays, your typical football team will have at least two kits, especially if they are professional or semi-pro level.
Many will have third kits too, but as you will learn the reason for that is more from a commercial point of view, rather then to stop the clashing of kits.
When Do Football Teams Wear Home Kits?
A team’s home jersey is their main kit and will be almost every time a side plays at home, except for a few exceptions.
The reason for this is because the colours on this shirt, resemble their clubs culture.
So if lets say Manchester United are playing at Old Trafford.
They will almost always wear there red and white home jersey.
Which are the two colours that are most associated with the club.
It would simply look odd if the home side, were to play in a different colour kit.
Now here is the thing if a rare occasion pops up where the away side as each of the home sides colours in all there kits.
It would then mean, as a last resort the home side, would switch to either there away or third kit, so there is no clashes whatsoever.
This happened recently with Napoli’s Europa League Play-Off tie against Barcelona.
Where despite being at home they wore their third kit, as opposed to the traditional light blue Napoli home kit.
Another thing to touch upon is that not every club as the luxury to have multiple kits at thier disposal.
Being someone who has played grassroots thier entire life, I have only played for sides who have one main kit and that’s it.
So when this happens, the home side will play in thier main home jersey.
While the travelling team will either borrow shirts or put on bibs over there home jersey that would of clashed colours otherwise.
This would rarely happen at a professional level though.
As away teams will make sure to take the kit that doesn’t have the same colours as the home side with them on their travels to a fixture.
When Do Football Teams Wear Away Kits?
Now common sense would have you thinking that a football team plays in thier away kit when they are away from home.
While that does tend to be the case, its not always a necessity.
The reason for this is if the home sides jersey doesn’t clash with the away team’s primary colours, then both teams will play in their home shirts.
To give you an example, Manchester City and Liverpool play all their games in their home kits.
That is because Manchester City’s home jersey is predominantly light blue while Liverpools is red.
While there is a touch of white on both kits, its not enough for them to clash.
As they are easily distinguishable on the pitch, for any fan, player, or commentator to see.
With that said, however, there are situations where an away side will wear their away kit despite not having any of the colours of the home side.
This could be to do with a clause in the deal with the shirt maker, where the kit has to be worn for ‘x’ amount of games.
Or it could just be a decision made by the club to wear that away kit instead.
Now other times where a team will wear their away kit consist of:
- Playing on a neutral ground, but have been designated as the away side
- If playing at home, and all of the away teams’ shirts have the home colours on them
How Often Do Football Teams Wear Their Third Kid?
A home kit and an away kit will normally be sufficient for most fixtures.
Its for this reason that a third kit is only worn a handful of times by a side in a season.
Since if a home side wears white and black for instance, and the away side’s home colours are also white and black.
Then they most likely have a completely different colour for their away kit.
Which will mean that there is no need for a third kit.
Its for this reason, that most clubs within the footballing pyramid will just have a home and away jersey.
As there is only very rare situations, where two sides will clash with each of their kits.
Why Do Football Clubs Have Third Kits In Football?
Well, the answer is quite simple, and there are two answers here.
Firstly it provides another opportunity for a club to earn more money through their merchandise.
Clubs especially at the top of the pyramid, such as Real Madrid, Manchester United, and Liverpool make millions each year from shirt sales alone.
So having another shirt, can help them make more money.
As not only do fans love to collect shirts that are cool, but die-hard fans will buy each of their club’s shirts at the start of each season.
Now the second reason for this is for when a home side as colours that clash with the away sides home and away kit.
So to give you an example, when Brentford played at home to Manchester United in the Premier League.
The Manchester side had to use their third kit.
This was because Brentford play in their primary and home kit of red and white stripes.
So because Manchester United’s home kit is red and their away kit is white.
Their third kit of a blue and yellow colorway was the best and only option to go with.