German sportswear giant adidas have defended the design of the new Manchester United women's kit that was branded 'sexist' and 'discriminatory' over the weekend.
The brand was criticised by some fans on social media because of a plunging neckline and lack of a black stripe that meant it differed quite a bit from the men's kit.
However, Adidas said it took fans' views into account before producing the kit, making it different from the replica shirt to give supporters a choice.
"Adidas provides an adult shirt which is a replica of what the players wear," a spokesperson told the Guardian. "Based on research from fans, we also offer a women’s shirt as part of our lifestyle range of products. This range has a slightly different design and fit to give fans a choice."
The best and worst kits from around the World
The best and worst kits from around the World
1/43 Legia Warsaw away
This military green kit with a black sash is certainly eye-catching - although we can't decide if we love it or hate it. The badge, as ever, is a superb piece of minimalist design
2/43 Hamburg away
Looks like a bit of throw away training top. Not working
3/43 Inter Milan away
The sponsor (this will become a theme) ruins what is an extremely smart bit of kit
4/43 Zenit St Petersburg away
The light blue colour is nearly always a winner, but this kit launch stands out for the bonkers Imperial Russian background
5/43 Borussia Monchengladbach away
As if the shades of green weren't hideous enough, they've stuck a big yellow blob right in the middle of it
6/43 Leeds United home
You can rarely go wrong with white and blue trim. Just make sure to keep a sponsor off
7/43 Atletico Madrid away
Their red and white home shirt with blue shorts is as lovely as ever, but the sleek away shirt looks just as nice this year
8/43 Wolfsburg (away)
The home shirt (on the right) is decent without being brilliant, but it's the away kit that is an eyesore. Too many colours
9/43 AC Milan third
The shirt isn't anything too horrendous (it's the dark green) but these shorts are awful. Yellow and green has often been used in tandem, but there are too many shades of green here and a useless use of red
10/43 RC Lens away
Now here is how you use a bit of fluorescent colouring. The moody black and grey diagonal stripes get a flash of colour (plus no sponsor!!). Umbro onto a winner again
11/43 Bayern Munich away
Doesn't seem as if much effort has gone into this one; it's the kind of unmemorable effort that provokes neither love nor hate
12/43 Figueirense third
Not much to add beyond it being drop dead gorgeous
13/43 St Pauli home
St Pauli kits have become a bit of a cult collectors item in recent years, the chocolate brown kits always offering a unique choice. This mostly white kit isn't quite a classic, but has the rainbow stripes on the sleeves
14/43 Rayo Vallecano away
The stripes represent different social injustices and the club will donate money to charity for every shirt sold. Top effort
15/43 CD Guadalajara home
Another club to adopt the rainbow sash, the Spanish third division side will donate five per cent of sales to an anti-homophobia charity
16/43 V-Varen Nagasaki
It's modelled on a tuxedo to celebrate the J-League club's 10th anniversary. Who knows why
17/43 Everton home
Classic style by Umbro
18/43 West Ham
Umbro with another winner - the shirt was so popular that the website broke
19/43 Barcelona home
Barcelona have dropped the vertical stripes for the first time in the club's 115-year history
20/43 Barcelona third (rumoured)
This Nike template will be popping up quite frequently...
21/43 Juventus home
It's hard to go wrong with black and white stripes
22/43 Juventus away
Juve have had some classic pink kits over the years; this isn't one of them and has too much going on in the mid-section. Plain pink with a touch of red and black would have been plenty
23/43 Crystal Palace
We were delirious when Palace released their kit without a sponsor earlier this summer...
24/43 Crystal Palace home
... and then they went and stuck an online casino on the front. Which one of these two would you wear? Not a hard choice for us here
25/43 Fiorentina home
Old school French brand make a return to football with a classic kit for La Viola
26/43 Sturm Graz home
27/43 Sturm Graz away
Oh dear, oh dear.
28/43 Sturm Graz third
How did these ever get made???
29/43 Swansea City away
Swansea's home shirt is a classic white with gold trim; this is horrible
30/43 Arsenal home
Another top effort from Puma for the Gunners
31/43 Arsenal away (rumour)
However, this leaked away shirt is much less impressive. The colour scheme is right but it doesn't work
32/43 Troyes third kit
We're not sure what to make of this effort
33/43 Manchester City home (rumoured)
Great effort from Nike if this turns out to be the home kit - lovely white trim and a smart collar
34/43 Manchester City home (rumoured)
What can't be seen on this image is the blue min graphic on the sleeves - undecided on this one at the moment
35/43 Manchester City home (rumoured)
Here's that gruesome template again...
36/43 Real Madrid away
Looks like something one might wear on the way home from the gym or to lounge around in
37/43 Nottingham Forest home
Wow, this is a real beauty from the Midlands club to celebrate the club's 150th anniversary
38/43 Kawasaki Frontale home
The Japanese club have released a smart limited addition kit in tribute to their new main stand
39/43 Evian home
The French club always produce interesting kits - for better or worse - with their pink, white and blue colour scheme. Undecided on this one
40/43 Roma away
You can't quite see it from this image, but look closely and there is a map of Rome embedded on this smart white shirt
41/43 Roma third (rumoured)
Unfortunately, Roma went for that template. Just horrible schemes that lack imagination
42/43 Southampton away
Green and blue is not exactly a classic colour combo and this one just doesn't work. At all
43/43 Porto away
AVERT YOUR EYES
Nike did not produce a women's kit last season, while Adidas pointed out that they make women's kit for the majority of the clubs they sponsor.
It is the first United shirt made by Adidas since 1992 after the company outbid American rivals Nike with a mammoth 10-year, £750million deal earlier this year. Nike, who had made United's kits since 2002, decided not to bid after the Adidas offer dwarfed the previous £23.5m-a-year deal.
The kit was defended by a number of users on The Independent's Facebook page, with the consensus being that the kit was definitely not 'sexist'.
Here are some of the responses:
Deborah Gregson: The shirt is not remotely 'sexist'. If you've actually seen it on a person it's not remotely low cut. However to be honest I've not bought shirts the last few years because high necklines look horrific on me because of my large chest. A v neck is more flattering on a LOT of women, I have no idea how this is sexist in any way.
Leanne Loveridge: Lower cut on larger chested women is a lot more flattering. I don't see the problem here at all. If you don't like the lower cut wear the men's top.
Dominique Crystal Simone Evans: I'd be more inclined to think it is sexist if they only make men's style tops and expect women to fit into a men's style! Clearly I have a different shape to a man and therefore need a different style! Wtf?
Cassidy R. Scaglione: Ohmahgerd!!!! No black stripes!!! Awful!!! Also, sorry, but a different neckline is not sexist.... Sexist would be if they produced only walking shoes instead of running shoes for women, cause girls aren't as fast as boys... This is just another case of the easily offended "protest addicts" waiting eagerly for the next opportunity for some armchair activism.
Laura Philpot: Football shirts are so unflattering for women about time they sorted it out u might get more women wear them now ...definitely not sexist !!
Claire Louise Sheridan: I am a feminist and I don't find this sexist in the slightest. They're just offering two kinds of neckline. Women can buy either, there's no law against that. The neckline is more flattering for some women's shapes. There's nothing bad about wanting to look a certain way.. if you don't want to look that way, wear the traditional cut. I think it's good it's being inclusive to appeal to more women who might enjoy football but also fashion. No crime in that. To me, it's simply more inclusive.
Jenni Davies: High necks can be a nightmare for women with larger boobs. I don't know any women with larger boobs who choose to wear high necks. Just saying.
And more from Twitter:
@IndyFootball it's not like there's any cleavage or anything. People are just looking for something to get their panties in a bunch over.— t.dean (@therealtdean) August 3, 2015
Manchester United begin their Premier League campaign against Tottenham. The kit can be found on United's official website.
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