FIFA’s equipment regulations run to 92 pages. The document for the Brazil tournament declares that its purpose is “to allow the manufacturers to enhance our sport through aesthetic creativity and design”. But, it warns, “in return, those parties are expected to follow the rules”. And there are plenty of them. The regulations cover everything from the size and spacing of shirt numbers and players’ names to what kind of cap a goalkeeper is allowed to wear and how big the makers’ logo can appear on a match ball. As the following pages in this issue reveal, kit manufacturers are on a constant mission to push the limits of these stipulations but their basic premise is sound: to ensure a standardised approach that allows some latitude but prevents a free-for-all with giant logos and clashing team colours.
In 2004 Puma memorably pushed its luck with a one-piece Ghana kit worn at the 2004 African Nations Cup: FIFA regulations were promptly adjusted to specifically outlaw such a design in the future. Here we have picked out a selection of the guidelines for the Brazil 2014 World Cup in order to give you some idea of the restrictions faced by equipment designers this year…
• On the back of shirts, players’ names must be shown at 5-7.5cm in height. The name must be separated from the number by at least 4cm.
• Players’ names appearing on shirts shall be sewn on or affixed by heat transfer or similar technique. No player’s name shall be attached with Velcro or other temporary means.
• The size of the number on the back of each shirt in a men’s match must be between 25cm and 35cm in height. The entire number must be visible when the shirt is tucked into the shorts. For women, the number size is between 20cm and 35cm.
• The stroke width of the figure of the numbers on the back of a shirt must be between 3cm and 5cm.
• A number must appear on the back (centred) and the front (not necessarily centred) of any shirt and on the front of any shorts used as playing equipment.
• Numbers may contain breathing holes not exceeding 2mm in width. The number may further be divided into no more than four parts.
• Colours used for numbering and naming purposes shall be the same for all outfield players of the same team.
• All goalkeepers may, irrespective of the prevailing conditions, wear a goalkeeper cap of any colour. The goalkeeper cap must be produced by the manufacturer of a playing equipment item. The identification of the member association may be freely positioned on the goalkeeper cap and shall be displayed no more than once.
• Member associations may display the same two identifications of the member association on both socks, to be chosen among: a) either official member association emblem or official member association symbol; b) official member association name; and / or c) either national flag or country name.
• Except for the official member association emblem, a number shall not contain, or give the visual impression of, any identification of the member association, a manufacturer’s identification or elements which create an association with the member association, manufacturer, a sponsor or any third party.
• Goalkeepers may wear gloves of any colour. The goalkeeper gloves shall be an equipment item separate from the shirt. The goalkeepers of the same team may wear different goalkeeper gloves. The goalkeepers name and /or number may appear once on each glove.
• On the front of the shorts on either leg the following member association identifications may be displayed according to the following maximum measurements: official member association emblem: 50cm2,country name: 12cm2, national flag: 25cm2.
• The member association may, at its own discretion, determine the number of repetitions and the positions of the displayed manufacturer’s identification on the footballs. The measurements of the name of the football must not exceed 50cm2.