World Cup shirts to be made of old bottles

LONDON: Many of the world''s top soccer players, including Cristiano Ronaldo, will be wearing shirts made of old plastic bottles at the World Cup in South Africa.

Nike said shirts for the nine national teams wearing its gear, including one of the favourites Brazil, would be made from polyester recycled from used bottles.

Each shirt would use up to eight plastic bottles retrieved from Japanese and Taiwanese landfill sites, said Nike, the world''s biggest sports goods manufacturer.

All of the nine teams, who also include Portugal, Netherlands and the United States, will wear the shirts.

Nike says they will keep players drier and cooler than previous kit while reducing energy consumption in manufacture by 30% compared to normal polyester.

Thirty-two teams will be at the month-long finals starting on June 11.

Manufacture of the shirts, which will also be sold to fans, used 13 million plastic bottles enough to fill 29 football pitches the US company said in a media release.

The bottles were melted to produce polyester yarn, which Nike says will ensure the most environmentally-friendly kit ever.

"We are equipping athletes with newly designed uniforms that not only look great and deliver performance benefits, but are also made with recycled materials, creating less impact on our environment," said Charlie Denson, president of Nike Brand.

Nike, which dominates sales in athletics and basketball, is mounting a major campaign to win a bigger share in soccer, the world''s most popular sport.

The company said earlier this week that it would stage a marketing blitz at the World Cup to attack rivals Adidas, the long-time market leader.

South Africa says carbon emissions from the World Cup are expected to soar compared with the 2006 tournament in Germany but it will invest in carbon credits to mitigate the impact. Nearly seven percent of the emissions will come from air travel to the long-haul destination.