In Brief

Chelsea defend price of £90 tops after 2016-17 kit goes on sale

Club insists most shirts will cost £55 as critics hit out at 'greedy' pricing scheme

Chelsea have defended the cost of their new home kit after an angry reaction to the news that deluxe versions of next season's shirts would set fans back £90.

Eden Hazard and Ruben Loftus-Cheek helped launch the new strips on Facebook on Tuesday, but it was the "eye-watering price tag" rather than the design that generated the headlines.

"To buy a shirt with a name, number and Premier League logo will cost an astonishing £106.95," says The Sun. "To put the cost into perspective, a season ticket to watch Barcelona at the Nou Camp costs just £74."

However, the London Evening Standard pointed out that the standard replica shirt will retail at a more reasonable £55 while an enhanced version, the "Adi Zero", will cost £90. Similar deluxe England shirts, made by Nike, are also available for £90.

But former player turned pundit Stan Collymore was among those to criticise the pricing on Twitter. 

Chelsea moved to quell the backlash, insisting that most tops would be regular replicas.

"There are people who want to buy the more expensive authentic version and we are happy to cater for that market... [but] 99 per cent of the Chelsea shirts that will be on sale in the UK will be the replica version," said a spokesman.

Chelsea will debut the new design at the FA Women's Cup final at Wembley on 14 May and the men's team will wear it on the final day of the season, when they entertain champions Leicester City.

The shirt features the club crest woven into the design and, according to manufacturer Adidas, "presents the proud traditions of the club's heritage and... a determined mission to strive to be the best".

The Blues are the first big club to unveil next season's kit, but other designs are expected to be launched in the coming weeks.

"Manchester United and Liverpool have both been subject to numerous leaks of their new kits and are set to officially release their strips in mid-May, but Arsenal fans will have to wait all the way until July to see theirs," reports The Independent.

"Tottenham Hotspur's new kit was found on sale in Australia, although there has been no official word from the north London club."

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