Nike under fire for turning the England flag purple ahead of Euro 24

PM Rishi Sunak and Labour leader Keir Starmer are among those who have expressed outraged disbelief that Nike has dared to mess with the red-and-white St George’s Cross. Nike’s England flag is a mix of navy, light blue, and purple on the team’s new £125 kit, launched ahead of the Euros this summer.

Nike introduced the shirt as “A playful update to the St. George” which “appears on the collar to unite and inspire”. It’s the kind of marketing speak that you don’t expect from Nike, as Starmer noted when he told The Sun that Nike should “reconsider this and change it back. I’m not even sure they can properly explain why they chose to change it in the first place.”

Nike is playing fast and loose with the England flag, which the country’s football teams – both men’s and women’s – were making some inroads on rehabilitating after decades of racist connotations. The sports brand’s defence is that the colours are a nostalgic reference, inspired by the 1966 World Cup-winning England team’s training kit.

On the plus side, the American multinational has annoyed all the right people including Nigel Farage, Joey Barton – and Lee Anderson, who slung some of his favourite insults at the new shirt, branding the flag as “virtue-signalling, namby-pamby, woke nonsense.”

The strip will be worn for the first time for England’s friendly match against Brazil on Saturday.

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