Sell-by date plan for football kit

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FOOTBALL CLUBS may be made to put sell-by dates on all the replica kits they sell.

The proposal is expected to come from the Football Task Force, which is gathering evidence in a long-running inquiry into the replica kits industry.

A task-force source confirmed yesterday that one recommendation under discussion was a sell-by date, identifying how long it would be before a strip was substituted with a new design. The replica England strip retails at pounds 72 for an adult's shirt, shorts and socks, while a child's size costs pounds 56. A new design was unveiled this week and will be launched on 23 April, but the maker, Umbro, would not say how much that kit will cost.

Other possible task-force recommendations include setting up a statutory football regulator, with powers to restrict teams who produced too many kits, and placing a two-year minimum shelf life on all new kits.

Preston North End, a second division club, already tells fans the sell- by date of strips, saying it is "fairer" to do this.

The task force, led by David Mellor, the former Tory heritage secretary, has also looked at why kits sell with a mark-up of up to 75 per cent. It is expected to report to Tony Banks, the Sports minister, in May.

Meanwhile, the Office of Fair Trading said yesterday it had completed an inquiry into alleged price fixing for replica kits of the Premiership clubs.