Euro 2016: Why both Portugal and Wales wore away kits for the semi-final
The first UEFA Euro 2016 semi-final has been done and dusted with Portugal beating Wales 2-0 on Wednesday night in Lyon. Goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani saw the Seleccao end the Dragons’ dream run once and for all. It was the Portuguese side’s first win in normal time in the tournament – in their sixth game.
While the clash was billed as a battle between the two most expensive players in the world – Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale – fans were left scratching their heads prior to kickoff when they saw both teams wearing their away kits.
Portugal were in their lime-green kits while Wales were decked out in their dark grey kits. Both sides have a red home kit so it was a foregone conclusion that at least one of them would wear their away kits. But why did both sides use their away kits?
Technically, Portugal were designated the ‘home team’ according to the draw while Wales were the away team. So Portugal should have worn their dark red kit. Ironically, it was the match officials – the referee, the assistant referees and the linesmen – who were in red.
UEFA rules on kit colours clashing
This is because of a UEFA rule when kit colours could clash. The referee had decided that Portugal’s red kit and Wales’ dark grey kit were both dark colours and hence Portugal could not wear their home kits.
“If the referee decides on the spot that the colours of the two teams could lead to confusion, the home team must wear other colours for practical reasons.” – UEFA Kit Regulations, Article 9.03
Wales had worn their home kit in the game against Russia in their final Group B encounter even though they were designated the ‘away team’. But that was only possible after the Welsh Football Association (FWA) had taken permission from the Russian Football Federation (RFS). Wales eventually won 3-0 to top the group ahead of England.
This was only the second time Wales had worn their away kits in the tournament. The first time was also in the group stages when they lost 2-1 to the Three Lions. So it is safe to assume that they prefer the fiery red kits while playing.
It is still not clear whether Wales had requested Portuguese officials whether they could adorn the red kits or whether Portugal themselves blocked the request since they were forced to wear the lime-green kit. In the end, neither side got to wear the home kits, leaving UEFA at the receiving end for a lot of flak for the decision.