Kit manufacturer Umbro has said it will not promote Linfield’s new away strip following controversy over the colour scheme.
he south Belfast club released the new purple kit, featuring an orange sash, last week, prompting claims that it resembles the colours of the UVF.
Linfield said that any comparison was “totally coincidental and entirely unintentional” and chairman Roy McGivern dismissed Alliance MP Stephen Farry’s call for a rethink, saying his intervention was “truly staggering”.
Now the sportswear company that supplied the kit has apologised unreservedly for any offence caused.
“At Umbro we believe in the unifying and democratic power of football,” read an Umbro statement. “This is why we are opposed to all forms of discrimination, discriminatory behaviour and violence.
“Kit designs are a collaborative process and this kit was based purely on guidance from the club. We apologise unreservedly for any offence.
“Furthermore there will be no promotion of this product on any Umbro channels.”
The kit was met with criticism on social media, with some drawing comparisons between the colours used and those of a 1912 UVF flag.
Linfield released a statement that rejected any suggestions the colour choice was made to resemble anything outside the club.
“The design has met with approval from large numbers of supporters, but unfortunately and sadly there have been certain suggestions from a small number from outside the club which this club cannot ignore,” it said.
“For the avoidance of all doubt, the design is of a football kit for a football club and any similarity, likeness (or) resemblance with any other design used by any other entity is totally coincidental and entirely unintentional.
“Any allegation or inference to the contrary is robustly and vigorously rejected by this club, which prides itself on being inclusive, open to all and representative of all.
“Linfield FC is totally opposed to all forms of bigotry, prejudice, violence and discrimination.”
Among those drawing comparisons between the new kit and the UVF flag was former Liverpool and England striker Stan Collymore.
Posting the kit alongside a UVF flag, Collymore wrote: “Nice new kit @OfficialBlues What’s the 3rd kit?”
Collymore’s Tweet received over 100 retweets and 600 likes before it was removed.
However, it sparked responses from Linfield fans to Collymore, who also played for Nottingham Forest and Aston Villa, and his post was later deleted.