Fans must pay €60 for new away jersey
FOOTBALL fans can add another cost to their already lengthy Euro 2012 bill -- €60 for a new Ireland away jersey.
The FAI confirmed last night that a new away jersey will be launched on the market at the end of next month, just in time for the build-up to the European championships in Poland and Ukraine in June.
While soccer chiefs do not set a recommended retail price for kits, the new away shirt is expected to cost around €60.
The away jersey was last changed two years ago.
The FAI had reassured fans last November that the senior team would continue to wear the current green home kit for Euro 2012. At the time it did not clarify whether there was going to be a new away strip.
However, a spokesman said last night that UEFA requires countries to submit both a home and an away strip. It then compares these to the opponents' kits and decides which team wears which strip.
Ireland is likely to wear its home kit for its opener against Croatia in Poznan on June 10. Ireland is listed first in the fixture and it is therefore considered an Irish "home" game.
The June 14 clash against Spain in Gdansk is considered an away game, so Robbie Keane and his teammates could end up wearing the new away shirt, likewise the June 18 match against Italy.
In fact, a jersey has already been created with the inscription "Ireland v Italy Poznan 18.6.12" complete with captain Robbie Keane's number 10.
Asked whether this was a cost that could be borne by football fans who are already struggling to fund trips to Poland, the FAI spokesman said supporters can decide what to wear at the games.
"Of course it's a choice. The home kit will remain the same home kit," he said.
However, consumer groups last night said parents, in particular, will come under pressure to buy the new jersey for their children.
Dermott Jewell, chief executive of the Consumers' Association of Ireland, said while he was not calling for a boycott on the new jersey, a reduction in sales could show the FAI the financial difficulties facing supporters. "This will put a lot of pressure on a lot of parents who can't afford it," he said.
Meanwhile, prices for the current away jersey were slashed on the FAI's official shop website yesterday, with an adult version down from €60 to €34.99.