On me thread son...

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If you’re looking for style tips at theWorld Cup, forget it, says Alan Burrows. They’ve banned any vestiges of individuality.

When the matches kick off on Thursday you’ll notice Brazil will be resplendent in their classic yellow, blue, white combo.

Watch closer over the next month and you’ll be surprised at the number of n ations playing in so-called block colours.

The reason: it’s buried deep in Fifa’s Equipment Regulations, which stretch to an implausible number of pages.

One things for sure, there won’t be any massive Zaire leopards or Cameroon lions, no emblazings of Arabic script or Aztec symbols.

And certainly not anything designed by Mexican keeper Jorge Campos.

If you can be bothered – and I’d suggest you don’t – first of all skip past definitions, 
interpretations, scope of applications and principles, all the way to page 17 (strewth), and the officials tell us the players will be in shirts, shorts, socks, shinguards and footwear.

And, in case you didn’t know, two of these can also be referred to as jerseys and stockings.

Well that’s sorted then.

Collar Zone: the band which is 3cm wide around the neck of the jersey, shirt or top starting at the neck opening (where no actual collar is presented) or at the base of a clearly defined structural collar.

Colour: one single colour from the Pantone® or Pantone Matching System® (PMR®) catalogue or referenced by another international colour matching system for one 
selected colour. Any variation of a Pantone® colour other than a variation resulting from different materials used in an Equipment item or reference of another international colour matching system is considered another colour.

Still with Sepp and his mandarins in Zurich?

Playing: Equipment item worn by an outfield player or goalkeeper may consist of more than four Colours (Fifa’s capital letter)...

Ah that makes it easy, just four colours eh?

...with the sole exception of vertically or horizontally striped and chequered shirts using two Colours equally in a non-predominant manner, in the event that three or four Colours are used on the surface of a Playing Equipment item, one of the Colours used must be clearly predominant and the remaining Colours on the same Playing Equipment item must be clearly minor. The predominant Colour must be visible to the same extent on the back and front of the Playing Equipment item. In the event of vertically or horizontally striped or chequered shirts using two Colours equally in a non-predominant manner, the third or fourth Colour on the surface of the shirt shall be used in a manner not affecting the predominant visual impression of the two Colours used as stripes and chequers and one of these two Colours must be predominant on shorts or socks.


Are they mad?

How long and how many people met to come up with that gibberish?

The size of the number on the back of each shirt used by Players in any men’s Match must be between 25cm and 35cm in height and positioned in the centre of the back of the shirt.

The number on the front of the shirt must be positioned at chest level. The size of the number must be between 10cm and 15cm in height.

The number on the front of the shorts may be positioned on either leg. The size of the number must be between 10cm and 15cm in height.

So, number size appears to be an important issue.

Numbers appearing on Playing Equipment shall be sewn on or affixed by heat transfer or similar technique. The number shall be attached permanently to the Playing Equipment. No number shall be attached with Velcro or other temporary means.

So, no sticky-backed tape or Pritt Sticks.

Numbers may contain breathing holes not exceeding 2mm in width.

Are they all on mescalin?

This waffle continues and I feel I’ve given you enough of a taste of it to realise that there’s probably reams on the acceptable sizes and colours of red tape.

But one thing you will notice is the ‘block-coloured’ kits. FIFA has amended Rule 2 Section 35 of the competition regulations to state, “Each team shall inform FIFA of two different and contrasting 
colours. One predominantly dark and one predominantly light for its official and reserve kit.”

And apart from the care-free Brailians, the big manufacturers and football associations have largely fallen into line.

Germany last month revealed their all-white design, ditching their traditional black shorts. Spain will be all-red, Portugal all Port-red and Italy all blue. And England will be resplendent in all white.

Those “Zurich bureaucrats” have been accused of urging nations to adopt predominantly single-coloured kits to improve the quality of HD pictures from Brazil. Fifa says it’ll make it 
easier for referees.

But I reckon we don’t need this cant conformism, and we haven’t done since at least 1966...