Red-green kit clashes will be banned by the 2027 World Cup to help those with colour vision deficiency. A welcome move? Read this debate from our December 2021 issue
Face-off: Should kit colours be catered to colour-blind fans?
YES, says the Telegraph rugby reporter
For the record, I’m not colour blind – just blessed with poor vision since early childhood coming from a long line of bespectacled people. Perhaps that’s why, like any decent human being, I can sympathise with how annoying a visual impairment might be, such as being unable to distinguish between red and green.
What I wasn’t aware of until the recent announcement by World Rugby that red-green kit clashes would be phased out by the 2027 Rugby World Cup was just how many people suffer from colour blindness: one in 12 men, including World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont, and one in 200 women.
That’s an enormous chunk of the rugby-viewing public sitting down to watch matches between sides in predominantly red and green kits who are struggling to distinguish the teams apart, watching instead 30 players run around in a shade of green not too far away from the colour of the vomit emoji.
If such a large portion of rugby viewers are suffering in this way, why wouldn’t you tweak the kits to help? If anything, it feels overdue. Given how much rugby loves flogging a new alternate jersey each year, it almost makes sense to have a product on standby in case such a kit clash arises.
World Rugby don’t get everything right but recently they have shown they are listening, whether to colour-blind viewers or players scraping the flesh off their legs on 4G pitches who can now wear tights and leggings in matches.
And if you think trying to help colour-blind rugby viewers is “woke”, find a better way to express yourself – and have a bit of empathy.
NO, says the host of the EggChasers podcast
Rugby has faced numerous problems in recent times, from empty stadiums to lapsed TV deals to the grass-roots level where many clubs are failing to fulfil second-team fixtures.
So you would think the powers-that-be need to be spending all their time promoting the game. But the recent initiative from World Rugby is to solve – yes, you guessed it – issues faced by colour-blind people.
It’s not to say this is an unimportant matter, nor that World Rugby can’t do more than one thing at a time. However, it seems rugby wants to do too many things at once – and none that help rugby.
The list of issues that authorities are addressing includes but is not limited to: racism, online hate, cultural appropriation and gender equality.
Outside of a handful of non-playing, rugby blog sites, no one has asked for this. So forgive me if I consider stripping the colour from the game as just another issue to cover up a lack of solutions for real rugby problems.
Categorising colour blindness – a condition that affects many people in a serious manner – with other unrelated issues is obviously not fair. In the club game I think the situation is simple: every club should have a home kit and an alternative white kit.
But turning out in the colour of your nation matters. When you pull on the jersey of your country, it’s a reward for a lifetime of hard work and exceptional sporting achievement.
Face-off: Should kit colours be catered to colour-blind fans? We want to know what YOU think. Email your views to rugbyworldletters@futurenet
This debate first appeared in the December 2021 issue of Rugby World.