English Football League clubs will be allowed to wear 'away' and alternative kits at home next season to help colour-blind players, staff, officials, and fans distinguish between teams.
- EFL clubs will now be able to wear away, third, and alternative kits at home matches in order to help colour-blind people differentiate teams
- The move has been welcomed by colour-blind advocacy groups and is gaining traction across other leagues and codes
- The EFL also applied stricter rules for club owners and directors, while extending the substitution rule from three to five per game
The EFL passed the amendment at their annual general meeting on Friday. The change means that teams have more flexibility when choosing match-day kits to avoid clashes that may be problematic.
Previously, clubs were required to wear designated 'home' and 'away' kits for particular fixtures, regardless of whether they were similar to an opponent's kit, with the exception of one per season to accommodate commemorative or charity strips.
The most recent example of the clash was in both legs of Sheffield Wednesday's promotion play-off against Sunderland in League One, where both clubs wore black shorts, dark socks, and a vertical-striped jersey, with the only major difference being that one jersey had red stripes while the other had blue.
The EFL said they will "play a more active role in helping clubs identify where a potential colour-blind kit clash may occur" and give the respective teams enough notice to arrange an alternative, which could include choosing different jersey, short, and sock combinations to ensure those with colour-blindness can adequately differentiate teams.
Colour-blindness affects around one in 12 men and one in 200 women, with the most commonly-affected colours being red and green.
Colour Blind Awareness CEO Kathryn Albany-Ward welcomed the news, telling The Guardian: "We know that statistically at least one player in every male squad is colour blind, and these regulation changes will make some ties easier for these players too, thereby improving overall performance of the teams".
The move comes as more clubs and leagues around the world adjust their kit rules to make the sport more accessible for those with colour-blindness.
Italy's Serie A will ban teams from wearing all-green kits from next season, while World Rugby announced plans last year to prevent Wales and Ireland from wearing predominantly red and green kits when playing each other at the 2027 World Cup.
It's not known whether the Premier League will follow suit, but its regulations recommend that clubs should wear kits that provide an appropriate contrast.
Other rule changes at the EFL AGM included an increase of the number of substitutes allowed per match from three to five players, while the league added extra conditions in its owners' and directors' test, disqualifying those convicted of a hate crime.