Every now and then a shirt drops in our delivery batch that stops us in our tracks. No, not a grail, match worn or player issued shirt. But a shirt which at first glance looks as though it never even came into use. And then, we pause and suddenly realise after some research that the shirt before us was banned.

That’s exactly what happened this week with an Argentina home shirt, originally produced for the 1994 World Cup. Alas, it wasn’t to be, for reasons you’ll see above.

Banned kits, banned by the powers that be! Governments or football feds, who’ve poured petrol on what could have been a worldwide, certified classic. Well, that got us thinking (again) about other banned kits. And believe you me… there have been some absolute stunners. 

In the world of football shirt design it’s fair to say that some of the very best ideas never made it past the drawing board. It’s also more than fair to say that some of the very worst didn't either.

Quite often though it is bureaucracy that ends up being the enemy of the most advanced forms of creativity in the field. The pragmatists in the boardrooms with their upturned noses, blustering at fresh ideas in the name of tradition and saying a resounding no to the new. 

Today we look at some of the kits that for one reason or another never made it to the pitch, or at least didn’t stick around. There’s some good ones, some bad ones and even a (hopefully entirely accidental) swastika. So without further ado, here is our selection of eight of the very best: Banned kits 


Brazil Third 2013



2013 saw Nike release this lovely ‘blackout’ third kit. After the shirt's limited release it was confirmed by the Brazilian football association that the shirt would never see use with the national team. This was due to its longstanding policy of only using the iconic yellow home shirt and an alternative blue away shirt for outfield players. Which is a shame really, as it's an absolute beauty. At least we can take solace in the fact that it was made available to the public, at least in limited numbers. Buy Brazilian shirts here.

READ: The best kit releases for the 2024/25 season


Argentina 1994/95 home shirt 


This Adidas design was intended for use at the 1994 World Cup. It didn’t make the cut. The shirt featured the traditional ‘Albiceleste’ colour scheme of sky blue and white but ultimately its downfall would be the black stripes that also adorned the shirt. Argentine FA president, Julio Grondona, decreed that it was unacceptable and a new design should be submitted. Adidas had already started production on the design so a number of the banned designs are still floating around. The whole saga was made to look more than a little futile when Reebok took up the mantle four years later and proceeded to make a kit that had no shortage of black on it. Shop the Argentina collection here.


Fiorentina 1992/93 away 



After being introduced to much fanfare at the start of the 1992/93 season eagle eyed observers quickly began to notice an unfortunate design quirk that the shirt carried. In places the repeating black and purple cross motif that adorned the top of the shirt merged together to form what can only be described as a swastika pattern. Much to the embarrassment of the club the style was withdrawn halfway through the season to be replaced by an all white shirt. Cop a Fiorentina classic today!


Cameroon 2002 sleeveless



Cameroon fell foul of FIFA regulations with this effort from back in 2002. The Puma shirt, intended for use at that year's World Cup, featured a rather fetching sleeveless design. Unfortunately the curmudgeonly old farts at FIFA decreed that it was not in the spirit of the game, or something. Either way they made them attach sleeves if they wanted to participate in the tournament. Coz, who doesn't hate progress? 

Buy Cameroon shirts here.


Cameroon 2004 one piece


Ah Cameroon, long before the FBI were raiding the Swiss offices of everyone's favourite shadowy cabal, Cameroon were well and truly fighting the good fight and royally pissing FIFA off. Fresh off the back of the sleeveless debacle, they only went and released a onesie two years later. So how did FIFA feel about that? Well, in the blustering words of the disgraced Sepp Blatter - “It goes against the laws of the game. The rules are very clear, there is one shirt, one shorts and one socks. They cannot do it. You cannot play a game against the laws of the game. We are the guardians of the laws of the game – the laws are universal.” It’s important to note that while the sleeveless and one piece designs were never used in FIFA competition, they were deemed perfectly acceptable by CAF and therefore saw use in both the 02 and 04 AFCON championships, respectively. 


China 2018/19 away shirt 



This pretty special black design with repeating dragon motif caused a pretty big stir when leaked images started to hit the web prior to release. It’s not hard to see why, it's an absolute beauty. Unfortunately, for reasons still not entirely clear, the Chinese FA stepped in at the 11th hour to put a stop to its release. The reasons, shocking as it may seem with a Chinese governmental imposition, are not entirely clear. What we do know is when it came time for the big 2018/19 jersey release ceremony, only the red and yellow home shirt was present. It has been speculated that the use of the dragon, considered sacred in China, or possibly the all black design, could have been the issue. It could well have been both of these things honestly. The ban came in too late to stop sales internationally so there are a number of these floating around, though they are becoming increasingly rare.

Shop Rest of the World Clubs here.


Mexico 1999 home



It’s good going when your kit design is not banned by FIFA or your nations governing body, but by your countries actual federal government. That’s exactly what happened with this proposed design from Mexican kit manufacturer, Garcis. The shirt featured the Mexican National Shield to the front, and while I'm not entirely sure why that’s an issue, it definitely was. The shirt never saw the light of day and was instead swapped out for a similar design that featured the more familiar crest of the Mexican FA.

Shop Mexico shirts right here! 


Barcelona 2020/21


Back in 2019 Spanish media outlet Mundo Deportivo began reporting that the Barcelona hierarchy had rejected a largely white, St.George inspired shirt for the upcoming season.

The Nike proposed design leaned heavily on the white and red of the flag of the patron saint of Barcelona and could well seem an uncontroversial choice, especially given that the flag already features in the sides badge.

Unfortunately, this is Spain and the largely white kit conjured up too many connotations of Barca’s great rivals, Real Madrid, for the Barca board's liking. All this despite the fact that Barcelona have, at several points in their history, sported an all white kit. All in all it’s a bit of a shame but hey, tribalism always wins.

Shop Barcelona kits here!


All of the above shirts are extremely rare due to their nature. We have been lucky enough to get our hands on a few of them! Shop our Rare Shirts collection and pick up a sort after piece today!


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