Bizarre EFL rule hits Southampton Wembley plans for Leeds United clash

In the early battle of one-upmanship ahead of the Championship play-off final Leeds United have already struck the first blow by finishing third in the Championship standings. As the higher-placed team of the two Wembley finalists, Leeds were given first choice on which kit they would like to wear for the big game this Sunday.

Daniel Farke's team have opted to play in their traditional all-white home kit, but it appears that has caused some issues for their opponents. Southampton had hoped to play in their home kit too, a shirt that is a combination of half all red and half red and white, but that hope has been ended by an EFL ruling.

Saints home kit also features black shorts and white socks, but wearing white socks would clash with Leeds' all-white kit and therefore Saints would have to make a change and wear either black or red socks, as they have done in the past. Southampton FC News report this not an option, however.

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That is because of a bizarre ruling from the EFL that says clubs must notify the EFL prior to the start of the season the details on any kits or kit combinations they will be wearing throughout the campaign, including the play-offs and play-off final should they qualify.

The rule, EFL Regulation 39.1, stipulates: "During the Close Season, each Club shall notify The League in writing details of its ‘home’ and ‘away’ kit (shirt, shorts and socks) and if applicable any ‘third’ set of kit. Each set of kit registered must differ visibly from and contrast with each other kit registered by the Club in that Season. No changes either in the kit or combination of colours of kits shall be permitted during the course of the Season."

Adam Armstrong of Southampton celebrates after scoring a goal to make it 0-1 during the Sky Bet Championship match between Leeds United and Southampton FC at Elland Road on May 4, 2024 in Leeds, England.
Leeds United will face Southampton in the Championship play-off final -Credit:(Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)

With Southampton's away kit being white, that option is obviously ruled out, meaning the Saints have no choice as things stand but to wear their lesser-spotted third kit of all black, which they wore recently in the 2-1 victory at Eland Road to close the regular season.