The most recent clash was between Sheffield United and Chelsea
For years, colour blind football fans have been forced to sit through match ups involving team wearing kits that don’t appear to clash on the surface, but do for colour blind viewers.
The latest example came during last week’s match at Bramall Lane between the Premier League’s bottom side Sheffield United and Chelsea.
The Blades were in their customary red and white kit, while Chelsea were wearing their, ahem, interesting arctic blue number.
The sight of the two clashing kits, with Sheffield United’s predominantly white from behind, led to droves of complaints from viewers on social media, with some saying that they simply switched the game off after seeing “20 matching shirts”.
I turned it on, saw 20 matching shirts and simply turned it off again..
I wonder where I could inquire to get some refunds for streaming expenses, since they are actively making it impossible to watch what I pay for..
— Mark Bløndal (@markbloendal) February 7, 2021
According to official statistics from Colour Blind Awareness, 1 in 12 British men live with colour blindness, while for women the number is 1 in 200, meaning there are approximately 3 million British people living with colour blindness today.
But even for those who don’t have colour blindness, a glance at the image below shows how similar the two shirts look from behind at a distance.
The charity estimates that roughly six percent of the average 1.5 million viewers for a live Premier League game on Sky Sports would have been unable to distinguish to two teams.
Baffled me, glad I wasn’t the only one to notice pic.twitter.com/P6wgTiYXPv
— ⛓ THE KIT MON ⛓ (@kitman_the) February 8, 2021
Earlier in the season, the league was criticised for a kit clash for colour blind viewers between Liverpool and Manchester United, with many viewers unable to tell the difference between Manchester United’s charcoal grey/green kit and Liverpool’s red.
That match was the most viewed game in Premier League history, and hundreds of thousands were unable to view it clearly.
— PriceOfFootball (@KieranMaguire) January 17, 2021
In truth, however, the issue dates back years, judging by complaints on social media, and little has been done to stop, due to the fact that while the Premier League can offer guidance on shirt choices, the final decision remains with clubs providing the kits fall within existing guidelines.
UEFA has produced documentation to raise awareness for the difficulties facing colour blind fans, with the two images below showing the distinction between what someone with normal vision sees, and what someone with protanopia.