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Northern Ireland football hero Gerry Armstrong questions ban on green kits in Italy


Gerry Armstrong presenting an award at Supercup NI in 2018. (Pic - Stephen Hamilton/Presseye).

Gerry Armstrong presenting an award at Supercup NI in 2018. (Pic - Stephen Hamilton/Presseye).

Gerry Armstrong presenting an award at Supercup NI in 2018. (Pic - Stephen Hamilton/Presseye).

Northern Ireland World Cup hero Gerry Armstrong has said he has been left baffled by a decision to ban green football kits in Italy.

Mr Armstrong was reacting to an unusual move by the top flight Serie A to prohibit green kits for the 2022-23 season.

It’s reported that television companies forced the move over concerns players in green would blend into the grass and be harder to spot for those who are colour blind.

Socks and shorts will also not be allowed to have green as the main colour.

This is likely to mean profound changes to the Sassulo side in particular, who play in a green and black home kit.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Mr Armstrong said the green colours of Northern Ireland’s home kit had been the national team’s secret weapon all along.

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“Maybe that’s why we won so many matches in the Northern Ireland colours, because they couldn’t see us,” he said laughing.

“I think it’s crazy, I’ve never heard anything like it in my entire life. Northern Ireland’s played in green and the Republic of Ireland for 100 years and never had a problem, so why is it a problem now I just don’t understand it.”

Asked how he would deal with a change in kit colours, he said: “It wouldn’t make sense, it’s not our colours.

“It’s definitely over the top for me. It’s amazing that they could come up with this.

“Surely if you have black or white shorts they can still see you, if the television cameras can’t see that there’s something wrong with them. I think it’s a stupid thing to do.”

Mr Armstrong said forcing a club to change their identity and brand so suddenly would never be accepted by fans.

“These clubs have been playing in these colours since they were formed. So if they’re told to start again with something completely new, the television companies really need to rethink it.”

Other Serie A teams that could be affected by the green ban are Atalanta who had a grey-green Christmas Tree shirt for the 2020/21 season and Lazio who had a neon green away kit.

In the unlikely event such a change was to catch on in Northern Ireland, other teams that would also have to rethink their signature look would include Dundela and Glentoran.

The issue of the problems faced by colour blind fans was previously illustrated in 2018 when Danish international Thomas Delaney admitted he had problems telling players in red and green kits apart when he faced Mexico in a pre-world cup friendly.

Calling into a radio discussion after a colour blind fan complained, he said: "The other day on the pitch it was hard to see who was on my team and who was on the other team. It's hard to describe. It's like seeing two shades of the same colour. I have to look at faces, but quickly so I didn't lose the ball."

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