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Keir Starmer says St George’s Cross 'doesn’t need to be changed' amid England shirt controversy

Sir Keir Starmer has called on Nike to change the colour of the St George’s Cross on a new England football shirt to traditional red after a row over its design.

The Labour leader said he believed the flag was a “unifier” and insisted the sporting brand should “reconsider” the decision to modify it.

The call comes after Nike revealed it had altered the cross using purple and blue horizontal stripes in what it called a “playful update” to the shirt ahead of Euro 2024.

The US firm said the colours were inspired by the training kit worn by England’s 1966 World Cup winners.

Sir Keir told The Sun: “I’m a big football fan, I go to England games, men and women’s games, and the flag is used by everybody. It is a unifier. It doesn’t need to be changed. We just need to be proud of it.

“So, I think they should just reconsider this and change it back. I’m not even sure they can properly explain why they thought they needed to change it in the first place.”

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

Some football pundits and fans have criticised the design and price of the shirt since it was launched earlier this week.

An “authentic” version costs £124.99 for adults and £119.99 for children while a “stadium” version is £84.99 and £64.99 for children.

The Labour leader also called on Nike to reduce the price.

A Nike spokesperson previously told media outlets: “The England 2024 home kit disrupts history with a modern take on a classic.

“The trim on the cuffs takes its cues from the training gear worn by England’s 1966 heroes, with a gradient of blues and reds topped with purple. The same colours also feature an interpretation of the flag of St George on the back of the collar.”

Former England winger John Barnes believes the issue has been blown out of proportion.

“I don’t get involved in culture wars any more but this whole furore…I didn’t even know there was a St George’s cross,” he told the PA news agency at a Forever Reds golf day ahead of the Liverpool Legends’ game against Ajax on Saturday, which is expected to raise over £1million for the LFC Foundation.

“If they were going to change the three lions then that’s a debate to be had. I don’t see what the fuss is. I think it’s a much ado about nothing.

“They are not changing the colour of the shirt, the lions are still there. If they were going to change the national flag for England and change the colours then that’s a proper debate to have.”

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