The uniform worn by Australia’s national women’s and men's soccer teams will now be made with 100% recycled polyester from plastic bottles, as part of Nike’s commitment to fighting climate change through its Move to Zero campaign.
The world’s top-selling activewear brand, which has produced the soccer uniforms for Australia since 2004, revealed Nike products like the new Australia National Team Kit have “diverted more than 7.5 billion plastic bottles from landfills since 2010.”
The figure continues to expand, Nike added, as the company sees more than 1 billion plastic bottles now recycled into its products every year.
The Matildas and the Socceroos, the women’s and men’s national teams, respectively, will now wear the same designs for the first time in years. Nike Pacific Vice President and General Manager Ashley Reade said this will harmonise the teams in the lead up to the FIFA World Cup in 2022 and 2023.
“We are excited to launch a kit that unifies the Matildas and Socceroos on their important journeys ahead of 2022 and 2023,” she said in a media release. “It’s inspiring to see the athletes in a classic home kit, embodying our inner pride through the symbolic use of traditional green and gold colours.”
The release of the new eco-friendly uniforms has not been without challenges.
The kit’s jersey is available to be purchased by the general public, however, hundreds of fans have raised concerns over the fact that the top can only be bought in the men’s size.
Australian Matilda Elise Kellond-Knight tweeted that the decision to only supply men’s jerseys was “a fairly significant problem,” while Bonnie-Kate Dewar, an angry fan, posted that it was ultimately “not acceptable,” according to the ABC.
"I’m tired of my soccer-mad daughter seeing that it’s all about the men’s teams and that the women have to wait,” Dewar added.
The official Matildas’ Twitter account acknowledged fans' frustrations and said the women’s shirt would be released in 2022.
"Unfortunately, the new national teams away kit will not be available in women’s sizes,” the tweet reads. “We apologise for any inconvenience caused and can assure supporters that this will be rectified for the next kit release due in 2022.”
Fellow Twitter user Toby Halligan demanded an apology from Nike and Football Federation Australia for the discimination.
"Don’t apologise for ‘any inconvenience’,” he said. “Apologise for reinforcing the stereotype that women and girls aren’t interested in sport.”