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Why players with different shirt sponsor are allowed in this case

European football competitions have started their preliminary rounds. During this weeks Champions League round I noticed some weird thing via Twitter. Özcan Akyol tweeted a photo of two Rapid Wien players that wore shirts with differents sponsors in their game against AFC Ajax.

Would you allow a player with a different shirt sponsor?

Different shirt sponsor for two Rapid Wien players

Photo credit: Özcan Akyol on Twitter

The Laws of the Game are not clear on this. Law 4 only states that “a jersey or shirt with sleeves – if undergarments are worn, the colour of the sleeve must be the same main colour as the sleeve of the jersey or shirt”. Plus there’s something mentioned about not wearing political or religious statements – which does not apply in this situation.

Captain Steffen Hofmann has a sponsor deal with Lyoness Group AG and will play with that shirt in Austrian domestic competitions as well. But is that allowed in international games? The Champions League requirements are the following:

“Exceptionally, for all matches in the qualifying phase the domestic kit regulations of the relevant associations apply, provided that the sponsor advertising on the kit complies with Article 32 of the UEFA Kit Regulations and the kit has been approved for and worn in domestic competition matches.”

I’ve never seen this way in other countries, but apparently these shirt sponsor marketing strategy is allowed in Austria. And in the qualifying rounds it’s thus allowed. So that’s why Willie Collum made no mistake in allowing one player to wear a different shirt.

Rules for the group stage

Steffen Hofmann  can’t wear it in the group stage though. Rules state that: “In Uefa competitions, a club may advertise for one single sponsor on the shirt of the playing attire.”

If you want to know if it is allowed in your country, check out the competition regulations.

Do you check all sponsored shirts before the game?

Update: After posting about this I found an article on Sportsnext, a website that found a historical photo of Rapid Wien. You can see the captain (middle of bottom row) was wearing a different shirt even in 2011.

Rapid Wien team photo of 2011 with different shirt sponsor for the captain
Rapid Wien team photo of 2011 with different shirt sponsor for the captain

This have photo may be published under Creative Commons: Wikipedia (CC) Steindy

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