Aston Villa Women are “dreading” wearing the new Castore kits when the WSL season gets underway this weekend amid concerns over the material used.
Reports emerged earlier this week that both male and female Villa players have lodged concerns about the new shirts, which are said to be retaining sweat and therefore clinging to skin with a wet look.
Unai Emery’s side have regularly had to change shirts at half-time during games because of just how wet the shirts have become.
Villa Women will get their season underway on Sunday as they host Manchester United in a nationally televised fixture and commentator Jacqui Oatley has revealed many players are concerned about having to wear the kit in public.
“This is going to be a big problem,” Oatley told BBC Newsbeat.
“They’ve got four TV games coming up. Normally they’d absolutely relish those games and look forward to them. But they’re actually dreading it because they’re really conscious about how they’re going to look in this wet, clingy kit – for obvious reasons.
“You can imagine, as a female athlete, you have plenty enough to think about just being the best you can be on the football field without thinking about getting sweaty and your kit clinging to you, both from a performance aspect as it is with the men but also from an aesthetic aspect.
“And, as we know, women are different specimens when it comes to our bodies and it can really affect us and how we perform if we’re constantly thinking about how we look, or a top might be clinging to our breasts and also our body shapes.
“These are genuine issues for women which you would have thought somebody would have thought through before they released this kit. But it seems perhaps that wasn’t the case, because they didn’t think about it for the men so I’m quite sure they won’t have thought about it for the women.”
While Emery could neither confirm nor deny reports of complains from his squad, Villa director of football Damian Vidagany did admit they are investigating a problem with the new shirts.
“It’s true we have a problem with the shirt, because clearly the material is not absorbing the sweat,” he said. “We have a situation and the marketing department is dealing with the supplier to try to change it. It is not a question that concerns the manager, it is for the business side.”
This issue is the latest in a long line of concerns for Castore, who saw Newcastle United end their kit manufacturing agreement early this summer.
Newcastle have a £5m-a-year deal with Castore which was due to end in the summer of 2026 but the Magpies have walked away from the contract and have instead signed up with adidas, who will take control of Newcastle’s kits from next season.
According to The Telegraph, complains from fans over customer service, product quality and stock saw Newcastle ultimately decide to move on from Castore, who are now in the second year of a ‘multi-year’ agreement with Villa.
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