Linfield insist any similarity between new kit and UVF colours 'totally coincidental and unintentional'
LINFIELD Football Club has insisted any similarity between its new away kit and colours used on UVF flags is "totally coincidental and entirely unintentional".
The leading Irish League club, which has a large loyalist and unionist fan base, unveiled the new purple jersey with an orange sash earlier this week.
The same colours appear on UVF flags commonly erected on lamposts each summer as well as on Orange Order flags and regalia.
Mid Ulster Aontú councillor Denise Mullen called on the south Belfast-based club to withdraw the 2020/21 season kit.
Her father Denis was shot dead by the notorious Glenanne Gang, which included members of the RUC, UDR and UVF, at their family home in Co Tyrone in 1975.
The UVF was responsible for the sectarian murder of hundreds of innocent Catholics during the Troubles.
Ms Mullen described the kit as “totally offensive”.
SDLP assembly member Justin McNulty also said he hoped “this is a genuine oversight by the club and that they will take appropriate action to avoid causing any offence or hurt”.
In a statement, Linfield said the design "has met with approval from large numbers of supporters but unfortunately and sadly, there have been certain suggestions from a small number from outside the club which this club cannot ignore".
“For the avoidance of all doubt, the design is of a football kit for a football club and any similarity, likeness, resemblance with any other design used by any other entity is totally coincidental and entirely unintentional,” it said.
“Any allegation or inference to the contrary is robustly and vigorously rejected by this club which prides itself on being inclusive, open to all and representative of all."
The club added that it is “opposed to all forms of bigotry, prejudice, violence and discrimination”.