Shaqiri on ripped Swiss jerseys: ‘I hope Puma doesn't make condoms’
PARIS (AP) — Ripped on social media for the shredded state of Switzerland's red shirts, Puma has apologized for a faulty batch of jerseys.
One of the main talking points of the Swiss team's 0-0 draw with France on Sunday was how easily and often the shirts tore when tugged by opponents.
Even Switzerland's players saw the funny side of their shirt-ripping issues.
"I hope Puma doesn't make condoms," Switzerland forward Xherdan Shaqiri, whose No. 23 shirts stayed intact, quipped to broadcasters.
The sports apparel company, which kits out Usain Bolt and the Jamaica track team, said sorry on Monday to one of its top soccer clients.
"This was a very unfortunate incident and Puma apologizes to the Swiss federation and their players," the Germany-based company said in a statement. "The defective material was used in only a limited number of Swiss home jerseys."
Midfielder Granit Xhaka and Admir Mehmedi were both left wearing shirts in ribbons during the match in Lille.
Some wondered if there was method in Puma's thinking — that the match referee would surely award Switzerland penalty kicks or free kicks because the French players' illegal shirt-pulling was so obvious.
Not so, Puma said.
"There was one batch of material, where yarns had been damaged during the production process, leading to a weakening in the final garment," the company said. "This can happen, if the combination of heat, pressure and time is not properly controlled in the manufacturing process."
The shirts were made in Turkey and are a mix of elastane and polyester fibers, which have been used since 2014 including at the last World Cup.
Puma makes kits for five European Championship teams, including Italy. The Italians, however, have not yet had any problems.
"All federations have confirmed that they never had any such issues and are very happy with quality, functionality and design of their jerseys," Puma said.
Its main rival, Adidas, also had an equipment issue during Sunday's match in Lille. The "Beau Jeu" ball designed especially for Euro 2016 burst open when two players converged on it in a second-half challenge.