Football: Wales cast as poor relations

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The Independent Online
WALES will unveil two new international shirts next week to underline the stark contrasts between the rich and poor of international football.

Just days after England announced a new pounds 50m five-year link-up with Umbro, Wales will be completing the final phase of a deal with the Italian company, Lotto, that nets them less than pounds 1m over four years.

A new red first-choice shirt, plus a "daffodil yellow" away strip, will be revealed at the team's training camp hotel near Chester.

The Football Association of Wales spokesman, Mark Evans, said: "We are half-way through a four-year deal with Lotto and this is the final change of kit. We cannot match the sort of money that England can pull in.

"Frankly it's hard to get companies interested in countries that are down in the 100s in the world rankings, which is why we object so much to the way that Fifa list is calculated because it has a knock-on effect on many things."

Wales have been with Umbro, Adidas and Admiral in the past and are already actively looking for a new deal for the future. They are even considering the policy followed by Leicester City of marketing their own kit after the Lotto deal runs out.

Wales have decided to abandon their all-green second kit because the players had the same problem as Manchester United discovered with their infamous grey kit in a match at Southampton a couple of years ago - they could not see their colleagues properly.

It was going to be worn last year in the World Cup match in Eindhoven against the Netherlands, but a late decision was made to change to a white kit that night... and Wales still lost 7-1.

Kilmarnock were celebrating yesterday after being officially confirmed as Scotland's fourth representatives in Europe next season. The Rugby Park outfit, who finished fourth in the Bell's Premier Division, received ratification from the Scottish Football Association that they will be one of its two representatives in the Uefa Cup, alongside Rangers.

Bobby Williamson's side will be striving to better last year's European run, when they went out to the French side Nice after overcoming the Irish part-timers Shelbourne in the preliminary round of the Cup- Winners' Cup.

Kilmarnock's secretary, Kevin Collins, said: "It's a sign of the club's progress. We're now looking forward to our sixth consecutive year in the Premier Division and the fans are obviously very excited by the prospect of playing in the Uefa Cup.

"To qualify for it is probably a better achievement than reaching the Cup-Winners' Cup last year."