The world rugby lawmakers are set to introduce new laws for the 2027 World Cup tournament, banning red-green kits to help people struggling with color vision deficiency. This new measure means that Ireland and Wales will need to change their Jerseys if they’re slotted to go against each other in future fixtures. Fortunately, the new laws will not affect betting on rugby with Odds Shark, although that comes in handy for players and fans suffering from CVD.
Over 300 million people worldwide are suffering from some type of color vision deficiency, although the condition is more prevalent in men. That’s considering that one in twelve men globally are affected by this condition, but only one in 200 women are affected by CVD.
Red-green color vision deficiency is the most popular form of color blindness, reported by about 0.5% of female rugby fans and 8% of male supporters. According to World Rugby Research and turf manager Marc Douglas, there is a huge percentage of people switched off by limiting about 8% of the male audience.
The World Rugby lawmakers have identified seven areas that can be challenging for color-blind people. These areas include kit clashes, stadium and ticket information, equipment colors, workplace issues, and external Information like emergency services and sponsorship.
The World Rugby chairman Sir Bill Beaumont announced the new measures earlier last month on Color-Blindness Awareness Day. Sir Beaumont acknowledged that color blindness is highly misunderstood and the challenges for players, officials, coaches, and fans are often overlooked.
Beaumont also revealed that he was delighted by the World Rugby organization making these adjustments on the Color Blindness Awareness day this year, considering that he experiences these challenges firsthand. Beaumont also hopes that this guide will help increase the awareness towards color-blindness and hopes it will help change the culture with positive actions that address more than those obvious challenges like kit colors. That might help consider all aspects of the match-day experience whether it’s digital signage, wayfinding, ticketing, or branding.
Highlighting the issues of those affected by CVD, Scotland’s Rugby ambassador Chris Paterson recalled how tricky it was playing for Edinburgh and the Scarlets would show up wearing their dark red jerseys. That was hard for Chris as he would run straight into two opponents thinking it was his own men while trying to make a line break to complete a counterattack. The main problem with that is that a player’s main focus is on the ball while running and trying to scan the whole field as there’s no real division in your eyes.
As the World Rugby lawmakers point out, around two players are struggling with color blindness in each men’s rugby squad. Unfortunately, ruby is a fast-paced sport, and not being able to immediately distinguish the colors can have serious consequences.
According to Rugby player Mike Blair (who won over 80 caps for Scotland and the current coach for Edinburgh), he realized that he had color blindness issues at about eight years old. That started his problems early as his brothers wouldn’t tell him whether he was aiming for the red or brown snooker while they were playing until it was too late.
As a professional rugby player, Blair hid his color blindness from most people. However, Blair says the reason behind that wasn’t because he felt embarrassed, but because he didn’t think it was relevant for everyone to know about his condition.
Looking back at the situation, Blair is wondering whether he ought to have been more demanding about the colors that he and his opponents wore in games, given the confusion it occasionally caused him. That’s considering that changing the kit colors isn’t a hard thing for clubs to do, although it can be hard for players suffering from color blindness. That’s because they have no idea of how the world would look like in a clear vision.
The main aim of designing team kits is to help the players’ visibility. That explains why football manager Alex Furgerson made Manchester United change their grey jerseys during half-time in 1996 due to claims that they couldn’t recognize each other while playing, which is crucial while making passes in a game. That’s especially true when players rely on their peripheral vision, which isn’t naturally very accurate in discerning colors over central vision.
The main applications of the new color-blindness laws in rugby are:
- Kit clashes – with match officials, other players, the pitch color, and crowds in the stands
- At grounds – with wayfinding, facilities, types of lighting, and safety signage
- Equipment – bibs, training cones, and classroom training
- TV coverage – “Invisible” advertisement, logos, and inaccessible graphics
- Information – purchasing tickets, websites, and buying merchandise
- Workplace issues – technical equipment, presentations, understanding color-coded spreadsheets, graphs, and charts
- External stakeholders (Sponsors, investors, emergency services & media organizations) – making sense of color information given