If you happened to flick over from the gripping viewing of Toulouse v Leinster on BT Sports to the other match in Cardiff yesterday between Cardiff Blues and Glasgow Warriors you will immediately have noticed the glaring colour clash that assaulted the eyes of viewers. Glasgow’s away kit of sky blue and white horizontal stripes clashed horrendously with Cardiff’s European kit of two-tone grey and light blue. Glasgow’s home kit of deep navy and Cardiff’s away strip of White with a narrow light blue and navy pin-stripe would have spared spectators both at the game, and watching at home on the TV, the farcical viewing on offer due to the clash. Glasgow must take some of the blame as the clue lies in the home sides name ‘Cardiff Blues’, while the EPRC who organise the games from their Swiss base must also harbour some blame. However, rugby tradition dictates that the home side must change strip in the event of a colour clash. Match referee Luke Pearce apparently queried the matter prior to kick-off only to be informed that Cardiff’s other kits were stored at their training base, some 15 miles away. For the record, it was the away side that prevailed on a score of Cardiff Blues 12 Glasgow Warriors 29.
It’s not the first example of poor colour choices for sporting fixtures, only last week I attended Connacht’s win over Bordeaux in the Challenge Cup and the talk among the fans afterwards was how badly the Connacht’s new European grey away kit clashed with Bordeaux’s change jersey of Navy and white stripes. The home kits for either/both sides would have avoided this unnecessary clash as it would have been Connacht’s green against Bordeaux maroon kit.
Rugby is not the only sport that struggles with the issue of kit clarity. On a regular basis over the years I’ve attended GAA match in both codes where it’s been nigh on impossible to distinguish the two sides. Armagh v Cork springs to mind as does Tipperary v Roscommon or Meath v Mayo or Mayo v Kerry. In fairness to the powers that be in Croke Park, this situation has improved somewhat in recent seasons. However, occasionally shocking clashes still happen. Eir Sports coverage of club games is to be commended, however, last years clash between Adare and Doon was a clash in more ways than one. Both sets of teams wore red jersey’s the only distinguishing feature was the white shorts of Doon v the black shorts of Adare.
Soccer is the one sport where clashes are far less frequent and this is largely due to historical reasons. The BBC first televised an International game between England and Scotland in 1938. The early days of televised football were broadcast on black and white TV sets, so a marked contrast in colour was needed between the sides. The white of England and the navy of Scotland was ideal for providing contrast for viewers and making it easy on the eye. Teams attending World Cups up until the year 2000 had to have one strip in a light shade and one in a dark shade as FIFA stipulated this due to large portions of their viewership around the world still watching on black and white TV sets up until the late 1990’s.
I’ll depart this topic with a line from BBC snooker commentator Ted Lowe: “Steve is going for the pink ball – and for those of you who are watching in black and white, the pink is next to the green.” – there’s as much clarity there as there was watching the fare on offer to viewers in Cardiff yesterday!