Rishi Sunak weighs in on England Kit Controversy

Rishi Sunak has weighed in on the England football kit controversy after Nike changed the colour of the St George’s Cross.

Rishi Sunak weighs in on England Kit Controversy f

"when it comes to our national flags we shouldn't mess with them"

Rishi Sunak has warned against “messing with” the national flags after Nike changed the colour of the St George’s Cross on the new England football shirt.

Weighing in on the controversy, the PM said flags are “a source of pride, identity, who we are and they are perfect as we are”.

His comments come amid backlash over the redesign of the iconic flag by Nike, tweaking the traditional red cross and introducing purple and blue stripes.

Nike said it was a “playful update” to the shirt ahead of Euro 2024, inspired by the training kit worn by England’s 1966 World Cup winners.

Fans have called for the original flag to be reinstated and an online petition has collected thousands of signatures.

DESIblitz spoke to members of the public about the matter and some hit out at the flag modification.

Student Ajay said: “This is disgusting behaviour by Nike and those in the English FA who approved it.

“Give us our flag back.”

Nisha said: “How did the English FA approve of this?

“They have defaced the St George’s Cross.”

Mr Sunak said: “Obviously, I prefer the original and my general view is when it comes to our national flags we shouldn’t mess with them because they are a source of pride, identity, who we are and they are perfect as we are.”

Labour’s shadow attorney general Emily Thornberry said:

“It’s all very peculiar. The England flag is a symbol of unity.

“People, particularly in the last few years when we’ve been having such a difficult time, the England flag at the time has been a symbol of unity… the Lionesses and so on.

“So you wouldn’t expect Nike to go off and have a look at the Welsh flag and decide to change the dragon to a pussycat.

“I mean, you wouldn’t expect the England flag to be changed like this.

“You wouldn’t expect bits of purple in the French tricolour. I mean, why are they doing it? I don’t understand.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer called on Nike to “reconsider” its decision, as the symbol was a “unifier”.

On X, England’s most-capped men’s player Peter Shilton criticised the redesign and said:

“Sorry but this is wrong on every level I’m totally against it.”

Former England goalkeeper David Seaman said: “It doesn’t need fixing.

“What’s next, are they going to change the Three Lions to three cats? Leave it alone. It’s the St George’s Flag. Leave it alone.”

Although some were against the redesign, many have stated that it was not an issue and instead criticised Shilton.

Meera said: “Peter Shilton called the design ‘woke’. It is a tiny design detail.

“They’re not replacing the actual flag but people need to make something out of a non-issue.”

The shirt’s price has also received flak since its launch on March 21, 2024.

An “authentic” version costs £124.99 for adults and £119.99 for children while a “stadium” version is £84.99 and £64.99 for children.

Others pointed out that past England kits had various modifications to the St George’s Cross.

Much of the criticism was directed towards the price tag.

Student Akash said:

“The price tag is ridiculous. What are the shirts made out of? Gold.”

Kiran added: “The shirts probably cost a couple of pounds to make in some South Asian country.

“Knocking them out for £125 is an absolute disgrace.”

A Nike spokesperson previously said: “The England 2024 home kit disrupts history with a modern take on a classic.

“The trim on the cuffs takes its cues from the training gear worn by England’s 1966 heroes, with a gradient of blues and reds topped with purple.

“The same colours also feature an interpretation of the flag of St George on the back of the collar.”

Defending the kit, a spokesperson for the FA said it had “a number of design elements” that were new.

A statement read: “The coloured trim on the cuffs is inspired by the training gear worn by England’s 1966 heroes, and the same colours also feature on the design on the back of the collar.

“We are very proud of the red and white St George’s cross – the England flag.

“We understand what it means to our fans, and how it unites and inspires, and it will be displayed prominently at Wembley tomorrow – as it always is – when England play Brazil.”

Dhiren is a News & Content Editor who loves all things football. He also has a passion for gaming and watching films. His motto is to "Live life one day at a time".

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