Aston Villa are looking into short-term options to replace their kit manufacturer Castore, with the club looking to cut their partnership short, according to reports.
The British sportswear brand has come under fire in recent days after it was revealed that the team’s players had complained about their jerseys’ ‘wet-look’ that see them become soaked with sweat within minutes of matchday action.
There is a belief that the shirts may be impacting the performance of Unai Emery‘s side as they become heavy with sweat quickly, and concerns have been growing over the women’s team usage of the kit as they begin their WSL campaign this weekend.
Villa have been discussing a top-priority short-term replacement shirt with their kit supplier and are keen to apply pressure on the manufacturer, although the issue could take weeks to solve.
Aston Villa are preparing to cut their partnership with Castore short after concerns over the kit
The shirts appear to become soaked within minutes of match action and weigh down players
Aston Villa’s women’s side are thought to have completed a recent pre-season friendly in training kit due to issues with sweat retention
As per Telegraph Sport, however, the club and Castore are preparing to agree an early end to their contract in the wake of the controversy.
Talks are said to have taken place between the two parties in a bid to find a way out of the multi-year deal, which was inked in May 2022.
A spokesperson for Castore shared a statement on Thursday that acknowledged that time was of the essence to find a solution to the problems faced by both the men’s and women’s teams.
‘There has been some media speculation about a potential issue with the football kit supplied by Castore to Aston Villa Football Club,’ the statement read. ‘We are working closely in collaboration with the club to address this issue as quickly as possible to meet the standards we expect. We would like to thank the club for their patience and support to date.
‘As a proud new British brand, we always hold ourselves to the highest of standards and strive to do everything we can to constantly improve the performance of our products. This means addressing any customer concerns with promptness and humility.’
Villa are unable to turn out in last season’s strip due to a combination of factors, including the change of shirt sponsorship over the summer, and the lack of availability of enough jerseys for both sides.
A source close to an Aston Villa men’s player shared that the effect of wearing the shirt after a matter of minutes feels like ‘jumping in a swimming pool’, with the players appearing visibly soaked whilst sporting the kit.
Lionesses’ star Rachel Daly who won last season’s WSL Golden Boot with the Villans tweeted that the women’s side had worn training kit during a recent pre-season friendly, although her comment was later deleted from X (formerly Twitter).
BBC commentator Jacqui Oatley voiced her concerns with Mail Sport, sharing that the players are ‘dreading’ wearing the kit as they kick off their season against Manchester United on Sunday.
‘They are dreading playing in it, for obvious reasons,’ Oatley said. ‘No woman that I know wants to get hot and sweaty and have their sports gear cling to them in all places, live on television in particular.
A source close to a male Villa player compared the shirt to ‘jumping into a swimming pool’
Wolves are thought to have had similar issues last season but these did not become public
Newcastle will wrap up their partnership with Castore at the end of the season – although the club released a statement claiming it was not due to quality issues
‘It just shouldn’t be happening. I personally think these women need to have a different kit to play in, however they do it, I absolutely think they have to come up with a solution before Sunday.’
In considering new sportswear partners to provide first-team kit, Villa may look to German brand Adidas – with co-owner Nassef Sawiris owning a stake in the label.
Premier League rivals Newcastle made the switch from Castore to Adidas in a new deal that will see the iconic sportswear brand provide kit for the Magpies from the 2024-25 season, although the Tyneside club on Thursday denied that their deal had come to an end due to quality concerns.
Newcastle are set to receive around £40million a year from Adidas, in a significant rise from their partnership with Castore, which was an estimated £5m per year.