Football kits should be more affordable and more widely available throughout Northern Ireland, the chair of the official Supporters’ Club has said in the wake of an angry reaction to the price for a new away kit.
The IFA launched the new strip for Northern Ireland on Monday, and while many fans commented that it looks good, a lot were quick to say they would not be buying it because of the hefty price tag.
The shirt is priced at £52, and coupled with the shorts and socks comes to a final bill of £88 - but the IFA has been quick to point out that it does not have responsibility for setting the prices.
The kit will be available only at JD Sports, in-store or online, and will be launched officially next week.
A meet-and-greet at the JD store on Belfast’s Boucher Road with players Martin Paterson, Sammy Clingan and Maik Taylor will take place on Wednesday February 19 between 4pm and 5.30pm.
Gary McAllister from the Amalgamation of Official Northern Ireland Supporters’ Clubs (AONISC) said they recently met with the Irish FA to raise a number of issues relating to merchandising including cost, quality and availability.
Asked for the feeling on the ground among fans, Gary told the News Letter many have said they will be weighing up the price of the shirt against the price of a household bill.
“In the current economic climate a lot of people do not have the disposable income they may once have had,” he said. “They are more worried about paying mortgages, household bills and all the rest.
“Let’s put it this way, if it is a choice between paying £52 for a shirt and meeting a household bill it’s a no-brainer.”
He added that, while the supporters’ club understands there are business arrangements and contracts in place they feel “it would be beneficial to all if the products were more affordable and more widely available throughout Northern Ireland”.
Fans commenting on the News Letter’s Facebook page said they were annoyed at the cost they would have to pay out for the new strip.
“Nice looking kit but they can keep it at that price,” said one user, while another said: “Northern Ireland nil can keep the kit at that price! Had they been a winning team that was going places then maybe!” (sic)
A spokesman for the IFA said: “By law the Irish FA is unable to set prices on any items including replica match kit. The current price of £52 for an adult replica playing shirt is in line with other shirts manufactured by Adidas for other UK National teams and some Premiership clubs.”
They added that members of NI Fans and NI Fans Junior will get a 15 per cent in-store discount on the new kit if the bring a membership card and ID.
What do you think of the price? Will you pay it for the new kit? Or will you be sticking with the one you have to save money?
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