Germany kit withdrawn over Nazi symbolism fears

3 weeks ago 24

Germany home hit with number 44Image source, Adidas

Image caption,

Adidas said fans would not be permitted to order jerseys customised with the number 44

Adidas has banned football fans from buying German football kits customised with the number 44, after media raised its resemblance to the symbol used by World War Two-era Nazi SS units.

"We will block personalisation of the jerseys," an Adidas spokesman said.

SS units were the most responsible for crimes against humanity committed by the Nazis.

The newly released kit has also caused controversy with its choice of pink for the away colours.

The issue was first raised by historian Michael König, who said the design of the kits was "very questionable".

The SS rune was designed for use by the Nazi units in 1929. Members of the SS ranged from Gestapo agents to concentration and death camp guards. SS duties included administering death camps where millions of Jews and others were put to death.

Adidas spokesman Oliver Brüggen denied that the kit's resemblance to the Nazi symbols was intentional.

"We as a company are committed to opposing xenophobia, anti-Semitism, violence and hatred in every form," he said.

The same kit's away colour is bright pink for the first time in history. Supporters say it represents the country's diversity. But critics claim it is untraditional and has been introduced in order to raise money for the German Football Association (DFB).

Adidas has manufactured German jerseys since the 1950s.

But a decision by the DFB to drop German company Adidas in favour of the American giant Nike as the manufacturer of German football kits from 2027 has been blasted for lacking "patriotism" by Economy Minister Robert Habeck.

Germany will host this year's European Football Championship, which will be held in 10 different cities.

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