England jersey ‘disrespectful’

The Rugby Football Union has been criticised for using the Victoria Cross as part of the design for the new England jersey.

The image of the medal, the highest honour British and Commonwealth armed forces can receive, appears in the form of small rubber grips across the chest area, designed to 'enhance ball control and retention'.

Didy Grahame, secretary of the Victoria Cross and George Cross Association, told the Telegraph: 'It’s very disrespectful to use it out of context. That’s quite wrong.'

Gary Stapleton, chairman of the Victoria Cross Trust, said: 'It’s very frustrating when you see the image being used for marketing purposes. I think about how much work we put in and the volunteers put in and the work we do restoring the VC graves and here’s an organisation that’s probably going to make quite a large amount of money from sales.

'It would’ve been a bit more appropriate if they’d said they’d like to do this because they believe what the Victoria Cross represents and would like to benefit a charity that does actually care about the history of the VC. We would’ve welcomed [consultation] and would’ve quite happily talked to them about it, but nobody has bothered, to be honest.'

While the Test version of the jersey will retail at £90.99 (about R1,600), none of the proceeds will be donated to helping to preserve the upkeep of graves in memory of Victoria Cross recipients.

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