Football kits 2022/23: why is there a delay on new shirts - Premier League, Championship, EFL clubs impacted

The new EFL Championship season kicks off on Friday, with the Premier League beginning the following week

While it might feel as if the last one has only just finished, the new men’s English Football League season is kicking off on Friday (29 July), with the Premier League following just a week later.

Part of the excitement in the build up to any new football season is the arrival of your club’s new football kit - strips now being a fashion statement, as well as a sign of loyalty and identity.

However, a BBC analysis has found that getting hold of the latest club colours is currently proving to be difficult at the majority of England’s top football teams.

So, why are football shirts in short supply - and how many clubs have been affected?

Here’s what you need to know.

Chelsea FC has not launched its away kit - although it is unclear whether the delay is intentional or as a result of Covid issues (image: Getty Images)

Why are football shirts delayed?

Usually, football clubs like to get their latest kits out a few weeks in advance of the new season.

Not only is this period lucrative for the clubs - football league shirts tend to cost at least £50 - but it gives their sponsors a boost when fans turn up to home and away fixtures wearing the new strips.

However, most clubs in the upper tiers of the football pyramid will not be able to offer fans their full range of 2022/23 strips in time for the start of the season.

The Ever Ace towers over a cargo vessel in Sri Lanka (image: AFP/Getty Images)

Covid is the main reason for this issue.

According to sports news site The Athletic, which first broke the story, stringent Covid-19 lockdowns in China and Vietnam have forced factories to close in the two countries.

Given they are responsible for manufacturing most football kits - or at least the materials that go into them - these shutdowns have proven to be highly problematic for supplies.

These problems have then been compounded by Covid-related supply chain issues.

NationalWorld found several teams, including Gillingham FC, that did not have their 2022/23 kit available to buy - Gillingham has not responded to a request for comment (image: NationalWorld)

Senior lecturer in football finance at the University of Liverpool Kieran Maguire, told the BBC that a lack of container ships and backlogs at ports were creating problems.

Not only has it left many fans unable to purchase new kit, but it has meant some teams have not yet officially launched all of their kits for the 2022/23 season - something that can be clearly seen in the Premier League handbook.

Others are only offering new kit on pre-order.

Several club websites NationalWorld has looked at warned supporters to expect delays.

Crystal Palace and Leeds United are among the teams who have had supply chain issues (image: Getty Images)

When will football kit delays be resolved?

While Covid-related issues are to blame for the football kit supply issues, they are affecting clubs in different ways.

It means that it’s hard to predict when the full range of strips will be available.

According to media reports, most are not expected to turn up until August - potentially several games into the new season.

Mr Maguire told the BBC that the issues should be sorted by Christmas - the other peak time for shirt sales.

How many football clubs have kit supply issues?

According to the BBC analysis, only 44 out of the 92 EFL and Premier League teams have all their new kits available to buy from their websites.

The remaining 48 teams either have:

  • Only their home kit available (22 clubs affected)
  • Only their away strip available (7 teams)
  • Neither kit available (19 teams)

Premier League sides Leeds United, Crystal Palace and Fulham currently have neither kit available.

Bournemouth, Chelsea, Leicester City, Liverpool and Southampton have only one of their two main strips currently on sale, although some have indicated kit launches are on their way soon.

It’s unclear whether any of these kit launches have been delayed as a result of the Covid-related supply problems.