Many languages make use of characters outside the standard English A-Z set, and these characters often make it into family names, e.g., Özil, Fàbregas, Čech, Szczęsny, and so forth. Surprisingly (to me), kit manufacturers often produce shirts where the player's name has a special character replaced with the closest approximation within the English A-Z set, e.g.,
- At Arsenal, Szczęsny's shirt says Szczesny, and this version of the name is even used in the club's website. Similarly, Čech goes by Cech.
- Many Iceland players have names with a þ or a ð in them, and then carry shirts where it is replaced with th. For example, Sigþórsson went around the Euro this summer with a shirt that said Sigthorsson. This is also the version of his name in his Nantes website.
Many such examples can be provided. Effectively, the only special characters that regularly make it into shirts are Germanic umlauts and Spanish/Portuguese accents. This is odd, because the change in spelling often entails a change in pronunciation (e.g., Šmicer's Liverpool shirt used to say Smicer, even though š and s correspond to different sounds; this is like giving Ronaldo a shirt that says Renaldo and then going "eh, close enough, who cares").
So here there are actually two questions. First, why do clothing companies systematically produce shirts with known misspellings (unlikely to be economic reasons, I think; the cost of procuring additional characters is probably trivial relative to the size of the market)? And second, why do the relevant players systematically tolerate the misspellings?