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Manchester United-Liverpool clash sparks complaints from colour-blind fans

It was the hottest game of the season so far – the current table-toppers Manchester United were facing off against the defending champions and their traditional rivals Liverpool.

The mouthwatering game ended with a whimper, with neither team able to find the back of the net.

While fans of both the clubs are disappointed with the result, a particular section of them complained for completely different reasons.

According to a report from ESPN, colour-blind fans have complained that with Manchester United donning a green change strip, they were impossible to distinguish from Liverpool’s traditional red shirts.

The fans posted their complaints on the Colour Blind Awareness organisation’s Twitter account. “It happens all the time; we have had a bad year this year,” the Colour Blind Awareness CEO Kathryn Albany-Ward, told ESPN.

“We have had Southampton vs. Sheffield United and recently Liverpool vs. Man United. We have had loads. But Sunday was the most kit clash complaints we have ever had. We had hundreds and spent all morning trying to collate them all.

“It is a really common problem, and it is a big problem because of the amount of people affected. It affects 1 in 12 people.”

According to sources cited in the report, United were made aware of the issue 10 days before the game but were only asked to change their socks from green to white. Albany-Ward said the protocols of Premier League for the colour-blind people are not adequate enough.

“The Premier League does act, and they do notify the clubs, as they know when these clashes will happen,” she added. “I know because I was in touch with them today. They told United of this issue and United suggested a solution, but what they decided was not sufficient.”

According to a statistic cited in a 2020 BBC report, around one in 12 men suffer and one in 200 women suffer from colour blindness in the world. The community consists of over 300 million people.

There have been complaints of kit clashes from the colour blind fans for the past few seasons, and in 2014 the stakeholders were forced to make changes to the football colour and design pattern.

United’s Bruno Fernandes pledged his support to the European-Union funded organisation Tackling Colour Blindness in Sport last year.

In a statement, he also pointed out there might be a few active footballers who might be colour-blind.

“Not being able to watch a match on TV in full colour, to help easily distinguish between teams, referee cards and coloured objects in the stands seems almost unimaginable to me,” Fernandes said.

“None of my team-mates has identified as colour blind but for sure there are many in football who may face a range of difficulties when playing or watching the game.

“That’s why it’s so important to raise awareness, provide greater information and make changes so that those who live with colour blindness don’t feel left out and experience the game to the fullest.”

It has an issue which has plagued sports viewing for a number of years, and if the fans are still complaining despite several organisations making attempts to address their concerns, then there is a serious need to delve into them.

Spreading awareness about the topic might be the first step on a very long road.

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