9

At the end of every game, the top players swap their jerseys with opposition players.

  1. Why is this done?
  2. When and how did this tradition of jersey swapping start?
  3. Is it mandatory for the players to swap jerseys?
  4. What do the players do with the swapped jersey? As in, keep it as a memorabilia , auction it, etc?
7

From UEFA:

Swapping shirts at the end of a match is a symbol of respect between opponents.

In fact, UEFA started a campign called Swap your Jersey – show Respect!

The first known case of swapping shirts was on 1931:

The gentlemanly ritual is believed to have begun in 1931, when France beat England for the first time. The French players were so ecstatic they asked the English players if they could have their jerseys as keepsakes. The English obliged.
It was not until 1954 that exchanges took place at a World Cup

As swapping jerseys is consider a symbol of respect, This action isn't mandatory.
In fact, at most matched jerseys isn't been replaced at the end of the match.
There were several special cases that this switch hasn't been made,
The most famous case in history of refusing jersey exchange was on England - Argentina, 1966 World Cup quarter-final.

In 1966, England defeated Argentina, 1-0, in the quarterfinals, but the play was so vicious that when England’s manager, Alf Ramsey, who had referred to Argentina’s players as animals, spotted one of his players exchanging jerseys with an Argentine, he stepped in and yanked the jersey away.

Source

As for what is been done with those swapped jersey is for the players to decide,
they can do what there want with the jersey.
Many players treat it like trophies and other prizes they had won in their career.

  • 2
    usually swap jerseys is made to have a memorabilia of the match. professional players keep them, and is usually try to get one from the best man of the other team, or a friend in the other team. I'm trying to find the rulling about this, but at least in argentina is forbiden now, since you can't take out your shirt on the field (but you can fater the game is over). – gbianchi Oct 16 '12 at 21:48
  • 1
    @gbianchi as far as I know removing your jersey is a foul and disciplined with a yellow card, not only in Argentina, but for all (?) countries under FIFA. Besides swapping jerseys during the game would be terribly confusing, don't you think? ;) – posdef Oct 25 '12 at 18:15
  • Some players can't even wait till full time to swap jerseys, there was a big furore from the Arsenal fans last year because Santos swapped jerseys with Van Persie at half time. I don't think his terrible performance in that game helped either. – RoB Feb 27 '14 at 15:06

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