AFL announces historic uniform policy change

The AFL will remove white shorts from on-field uniforms for all teams across the AFLW, VFLW, AFLW U18 National Championships, and any AFL-managed women and girls talent pathways activity.

The industry-leading approach comes following extensive consultation with AFLW clubs and female players in addressing in-competition performance anxieties in elite athletes.

Removing white shorts is designed to address the global issue sportspeople face while playing in white uniforms during their menstrual cycles.

The decision was also informed by research that examined the barriers women and girls faced at a grassroots and community level.

The research found that player discomfort around uniforms - especially in adolescents - was a key deterrent for participation in sports.

AFL General Manager of Women's Football Nicole Livingstone said that the new policy is another step in the progression for women and girls in football.

"I'm proud of the position the AFL has taken with this decision and thank our players for their leadership and passion. Whilst this is a policy change for women and girls in AFL-run competitions, the ripple effect for community sport for women and girls is immense – we want to lead to remove any barriers that prevent women and girls participate in Australian Football," Livingstone said.

"Australian Football has progressed since the introduction of AFLW, and this change of policy showcases the commitment to the integration of women’s football and its unique needs.”

AFL Head of Mental Health and Wellbeing Dr Kate Hall said that the policy would allow more women and girls to play the game. 

“Prioritising our players’ health and well-being and supporting everyone to play Australian Rules Football is critical in everything we do at the AFL," Hall said.

"This policy is to ensure women and girls can confidently play and enjoy Australian Rules Football, free from the impact of period stigma."

AFL General Manager Competitions Laura Kane said this change in policy is a historic moment for the AFL.

“This is a pinnacle moment in the AFL’s history, creating a uniform policy that reflects the modern needs of female athletes," Kane said.

“There has been a movement in women’s sport globally to address athlete anxieties around wearing white shorts or pants during menstrual cycles.

"We have listened to our players and industry experts and created a best-practice policy to ensure we are removing any participation or performance barriers."

All clubs will retain one set of 'home' coloured shorts with the ability for these to be used in any match throughout the season.

Clubs will be provided with the option to have an additional set of coloured shorts to be worn in conjunction with their clash strip where appropriate.

The AFL will approve all uniform match-ups to ensure colour differentiation where no differentiation in short colour exists.

The AFL will also collaborate with clubs to determine any necessary adjustments to on-field uniforms ahead of the 2023 season.