St George’s cross row: Government accuses FA and Nike of ‘toying’ with England’s heritage

England fans with Cross of St George flags

Peter Shilton and David Seaman have criticised the change to the Cross of St George on England’s new kit – Paul Harding/Getty Images

The Government has accused the Football Association and Nike of “toying” with the country’s heritage over the inclusion of a multicoloured St George’s Cross on England’s new shirt.

Lucy Frazer, the Culture Secretary, also said the FA and its kit partner had failed to put fans first by switching the cross from its traditional red.

She posted on X: “Fans should always come first, and it’s clear that this is not what fans want. Our national heritage – including St George’s Cross – brings us together. Toying with it is pointless and unnecessary.”

England kit 'gone woke': Three Lions fans are furious as Nike give St George's Cross a 'playful update' with navy blue, light blue and pink in new international shirt

England’s kit for Euro 2024 features a multicoloured St George’s flag – Nike

Two of England’s greatest goalkeepers have joined the growing revolt over the altered emblem, with David Seaman asking: “Are they going to change the Three Lions to three cats?”

Peter Shilton also warned the “woke” switch from the traditional red would open the door to the loss of other colours on strips in future, proclaiming such redesigns were mainly done to fleece supporters.

Seaman, who played 75 times for England, said his generation of players would not have wanted to wear the new kit for this summer’s European Championship.

He told MailOnline: “It doesn’t need fixing. What’s next? Are they going to change the Three Lions to three cats? Leave it alone. It’s the St George’s Flag. Leave it alone. I’m sure that if they’d approached the lads and asked them about it, they would have said no. Just leave it alone.”

Shilton, who made a record 125 appearances for his country, told BBC Radio 4’s Today: “If you’re going to put the St George’s Cross on a kit, which obviously Nike have done, then just put it on with the traditional colours.

“The colour is, really, it’s a little bit woke, I think. And I think we see a lot of changes these days with different things and I just think the colours for England, like the Three Lions, it’s traditional.

“I think the fans have to put up with design changes to kit nearly every year and that’s really done to make fans buy new kits. And it’s all about money.”

He added: “I don’t agree with it. I’m a traditionalist. And England represents our country, and red, white and blue are the colours that we have on our flag. And I think that we have so many changes to kits these days in terms of design changes even, so it really makes the fans have to buy a fresh kit to be up-to-date. And it’s very expensive. But now we’ve got – it’s only slightly – but it’s a colour difference.

“And I think it’s significant because, once you start trying to change colours, there’s no end to it, really. And that’s what my point is. There’s no need to change the flag, the colour of the flag, and I just think it’s maybe the start of introducing new colours to the strip.”

Adrian Bevington, the former managing director of Club England at the Football Association, told talkSPORT he would not have “signed off” on the shirt.

He added: “It’s our flag. It’s a national identity and I just don’t really think it needs to be changed.”

A petition on calling for a design change had already attracted 17,000 signatures by 9.20am on Friday morning.


Nike must learn some things are sacrosanct – starting with the St George’s Cross

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