Premier League Rules Explained: Here Is Why Manchester City Did Not Have to Change Shorts Against Manchester United

If you watched the Manchester Derby yesterday evening, you might have wondered why both Manchester United and Manchester City were allowed to wear 'clashing' white shorts - let us find it out.

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The regulations for kit choices and clashes are defined in the 2020-2021 Premier League Handbook. There are rules for almost everything such as how many kits a team is allowed to release, and of course also a specific section for Kit Choices.

Premier League Kit Rules Allow Shorts To Be Of Same Color If There Is "Sufficient Contrast"

As defined in M.22 of the Premier League regulations, "when playing in League Matches the Players of each participating Club shall wear a Strip which is of a sufficient contrast that Match Officials, spectators and television viewers will be able to distinguish clearly between the two teams". So it is not defined that the shorts and socks are not allowed to be of the same color.

It are the away teams who have to inform the Premier Legaue which shirt they want to wearIn fact, it are the Premier League away teams who have to inform the league which it they do want to wear, as defined in M.24.

Uniforms just have to "ensure sufficient contrast"
M.24. At least 10 days prior to each League Match the Visiting Club shall notify the Home Club and the League (by such means as advised by the Board from time to time) of the Strip it intends its Players (including for the avoidance of doubt its goalkeeper) to wear.

The League may (if necessary) require one or both Clubs to wear different shirts and/or shorts and/or socks from more than one of their respective registered Strips to ensure sufficient contrast, as required by Rule M.22.

From a referee's perspective, shorts don't matterFor referees, it is only sufficient that just the shirt and socks do not clash, the shorts do not play a role.

This stands in contrast to the kit rules of UEFA, which requires the Shirt AND Shorts AND Socks to be of contrasting colors.

Bayern & PSG Mix Up Kits In UEFA Champions League

M.22 also defines the order in which the kits for the players and keepers are chosen.

M.22.1. 1st priority: the outfield players of the Home Club who shall wear their home Strip;
M.22.2. 2nd priority: the outfield players of the Visiting Club;
M.22.3. 3rd priority: the Home Club goalkeeper; and
M.22.4. 4th priority: the Visiting Club goalkeeper.

Premier League clubs are informed at least three working days ahead of the match of the shirts being worn.

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M.25. The League, in consultation with PGMOL acting on behalf of the referee, will determine any disputes arising between Clubs and no later than three working days prior to each League Match notify both Clubs and the Match Officials of the colours to be worn

Premier League Kit Choices - Process

  • At least 10 days ahead of match: Visiting Club Informs League Which Kit They Want To Wear (Home Team shall always wear home kit)
  • League (in consultation with EPL referee body) may require one / both teams to change strips to ensure sufficient contrast
  • At least three working days ahead of match: League informs clubs which uniforms will be worn
  • Ahead Of Match Day: Premier League publishes Kit Choices Of All Matches

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Should have Manchester City be required to wear alternative shorts or the away / third kit? Share your thoughts in the comments below.