Shirt swapping

Tradition in sports
Two players swap shirts after a match in Cardiff, Wales

Shirt swapping or jersey swapping is a tradition in sports where players of opposing teams swap jerseys with each other at the end of a match as a sign of mutual respect.

Association football

Shirt swapping is a long-held tradition in association football.

The first shirt swap is believed to have taken place at a match between France and England on May 14, 1931; the French team lost and asked to keep the English team's shirts as a memento.[1][2]

A further example took place at the 1954 FIFA World Cup.[2]

In the 1970 FIFA World Cup, Pelé and Bobby Moore swapped shirts.[1][3] Following this, the tradition spread to other individual players.[4]

Other sports

Two American football players swap jerseys after a game

Jersey swapping also occurs in the National Football League,[5] where it has become common since the mid-2010s, getting the tradition from association football.[6][7]

During his final season in the National Basketball Association in 2018–19, basketball player Dwyane Wade exchanged jerseys after every game with a player on the opposing team.[8]

Jersey swapping has also occurred in Major League Baseball.[9][10] Joe Kelly swapped his jersey with a Mariachi musician for his charro jacket in celebration of his Mexican heritage and wore it to the Los Angeles Dodgers' championship trip to the White House following their victory in the 2020 World Series.[11]

Outside of sports

Boris Johnson with Juan Carlos Varela in London in 2018

Politicians sometimes swap shirts as acts of diplomacy, often before their respective teams play against each other. One instance was Boris Johnson swapping national team jerseys with Juan Carlos Varela before their countries faced each other in the 2018 FIFA World Cup.[12]

Notable shirt swapping

Competition Matches Players Description
1970 FIFA World Cup Group stage Brazil vs England Brazil Pelé England Bobby Moore Regarded as a symbol of fair play in association football.[3]
2022 FIFA World Cup Round of 16 Argentina vs Australia Argentina Lionel Messi Australia Cameron Devlin Shirt worn in Messi's 1000th match[13]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Football stars in search of souvenirs". FIFA. May 29, 2016.
  2. ^ a b Billy Witz (July 7, 2010). "Jersey Swaps, a Ritual That Comes With a Story". The New York Times.
  3. ^ a b "Remembering Bobby Moore". FIFA. April 12, 2020.
  4. ^ 김윤주 (December 6, 2022). "네이마르의 선택은 이강인…유니폼 바꾸자고 먼저 팔 '톡톡'". (in Korean).
  5. ^ Sam Farmer (October 27, 2017). "Jersey swapping has become a thing at the end of NFL games". Los Angeles Times.
  6. ^ Scott Murray (December 17, 2015). "Shirt swapping: new to NFL, but long part of soccer's rich tradition". The Guardian. Retrieved December 6, 2022.
  7. ^ "Jersey swapping: NFL's new postgame craze in jeopardy". NBC Sports. December 16, 2015. Retrieved December 6, 2022.
  8. ^ Bontemps, Tim (April 9, 2020). "'I wanted a chance to say goodbye': The evolution of Dwyane Wade's jersey swaps". ESPN. Retrieved March 19, 2024.
  9. ^ "MVP moment? Donaldson, Vlad swap jerseys".
  10. ^ Ardaya, Fabian. "Why Mookie Betts wants to keep swapping jerseys and expanding his horizons". The Athletic.
  11. ^ "The story behind Joe Kelly's Mariachi jacket during Dodgers' White House visit". FOX 11. July 2, 2021. Retrieved April 17, 2024.
  12. ^ "Foreign Secretary and President of Panama in sporting gesture ahead of the World Cup". GOV.UK. May 14, 2018. Retrieved December 6, 2022.
  13. ^ Chris Burton (December 6, 2022). "How Australia sub Devlin snared historic Messi shirt from Argentina superstar's 1,000th game".