TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Even though the Taiwan national football team is absent from the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the country still shows up in every stadium and continues to catch the world’s eye.
According to Taiwan’s Environmental Protection Administration (EPA), 16 of the 32 national teams attending this year’s World Cup are wearing uniforms made in Taiwan or made with fabric manufactured on the island.
The World Cup national team jerseys are mainly sponsored by Adidas and Nike, both of which use fabric made from recycled plastic bottle fibers manufactured by Taiwanese textiles companies. In addition, four uniforms sponsored by Nike are made in Taiwan, including those of England, Brazil, Portugal, and Saudi Arabia.
In other words, star footballers such as Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Neymar all wore uniforms made in Taiwan or whose fabric was manufactured in Taiwan on the field.
The “Taiwan team” has made its way to the semi-finals following the victories of Belgium and England this week. The former is sponsored by Adidas while the latter’s uniforms are provided by Nike.
Marouane Fellaini, Belgium's national team (Source: AP)
Lee Shou-chein (李守謙), an EPA official, told Apple Daily that Taiwanese textiles companies have manufactured recycled plastic bottle fiber to outfit dozens of big sports brands.
On average one World Cup team jersey requires the fabric made from eight to 13 plastic bottles, according to Lee. Plastic bottles are first smashed into particles, then turned into yarn, and later fabric. Jerseys made from recycled plastic bottle fiber provide great comfort and breathability, and therefore have gained a growing share in the global sportswear market in recent years.