Nike raises controversy for designing England soccer team's shirt with a St. George's Cross in 'diverse' colors

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and opposition leader Keir Starmer expressed disapproval of the decision by the U.S.-based firm that sponsors the national team.

U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak expressed opposition to the decision by Nike and the English Football Association (FA), the highest regulatory body in English soccer, to change the original colors of the St. George's Cross (flag of England) to a multicolor design probably making a reference to the trans flag on the jersey that the national team will wear at Euro 2024.

"Obviously I prefer the original and my general view is that when it comes to our national flags, we shouldn’t mess with them because they are a source of pride, identity, who we are and they’re perfect as they are," responded the U.K. prime minister to the decision to change the design of the uniform.

Keir Starmer, leader of the opposition in the British Parliament, also expressed discontent, asking Nike to "reconsider" its decision and respect the white and red of the English national flag. "We don't need to change it. We just need to be proud of it," he said.

Nike, which sponsors the English team, and the FA defended that the change is not due to a nod to the woke agenda or the colors of the trans flag. According to a spokesperson for the federation, in statements reported by The Guardian, it is a tribute to the uniform worn by the national team that won the 1966 World Cup:

The new England 2024 home kit has a number of design elements which were meant as a tribute to the 1966 World Cup-winning team. The colored trim on the cuffs is inspired by the training gear worn by England’s 1966 heroes, and the same colors also feature on the design on the back of the collar.