Buidling Dreams Together


Shirt Swapping at Half Time, Disrespect or Flattery?

The ode of shirt swapping. A tradition of the beautiful game. Regardless of the game’s nature, the fights, the losses – there is a respectful exchange of shirts. Whether respect to each other, the team or a special moment, shirt swapping makes football what it is.

Supposedly beginning in 1931, after a game between England and France as a memento, it has been an integral component of football ever since. With many players displaying an impressive array of shirts, the act holds value for many players, like a competition within the game. More than anything, it shows that the boys that play the beautiful game are the same boys who grew up loving it.

Almost always shirts are swapped at full time. But there is sometimes a shocking moment when players swap them at half time. So, is it disrespectful? To the game, the rivalry, the fans, and the manager? Or it is a sign of respect; an eagerness, a childlike excitement, the honor of sharing a pitch with an idol?

How is Football Changing?

As football has changed over the years, so has the standard. In the modern game, players often get given two shirts. One for the first half and the second, allowing players to give out more than one shirt per game. And besides that, why not? The shirts won’t go anywhere after the game, the more given out the better. Or does tradition trump convenience?

Some things can’t ever change.

However, the anger seems to be from the managers. The frustration at the lack of rivalry and dislike for the opponent on the pitch. In a Champions League match between Young Boys and Manchester City, the captain of the Swiss team opted to exchange shirts with Haaland during the half time break; leaving the clubs manager furious. The respect from the players is viewed as disrespectful to the fans and to those on the sidelines. There is a floating mentality across football, that there are no friendships on the pitch. Due to the crest you wear on your chest; for the 90 minutes you play, you are not friends and you do not swap shirts at half time.

In countless derbies across the world, you will never see shirt swapping at half time. The ridicule would be outrageous. The players would never hear the end of it, whether from their own fans, the media, or their teammates. However, less competitive games between clubs are more understandable. If a smaller club plays one of the world’s best, players are scrambling for the shirt of a world class player.

So, is it neither?

Is it pure convenience? Does it truly matter to the game? With the new modernization of football, from VAR controversy, to three host country world cup, point deductions and more, does swapping shirt even come under the same bracket of upset? Probably not.