HomeFootball NewsGermany kit: Adidas bans fans from adding 44 to shirt over Nazi...

Germany kit: Adidas bans fans from adding 44 to shirt over Nazi symbolism

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Adidas has banned football fans from customising Germany football shirts with the number 44 because of concerns raised over its resemblance to the symbolism used by Nazi Schutzstaffel (SS) units during World War II.

The paramilitary organisation conducted industrialised genocide of Jewish people across Europe.

An Adidas spokesman said the company would “block personalisation of the jerseys”, with historian Michael Konig widely reported to have called the kit design “very questionable”.

The new kit, partly released in time for Uefa Euro 2024, has also caused controversy because pink has been chosen for the away colours.

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“We as a company are committed to opposing xenophobia, anti-Semitism, violence and hatred in every form,” said Adidas spokesman Oliver Bruggen, who added that any resemblance to the symbols was not intentional.

BBC News said it had been told separately by Adidas that the German Football Association (DFB) and its partners had designed the numbers on the shirts.

The outlet quoted the DFB as saying that the designs had been submitted to UEFA for review during the design process and that “none of the parties involved saw any proximity to Nazi symbolism”. It also said the governing body is developing an alternative design for the number 4.

Adidas Germany shirts: An ‘identity’

Adidas has supplied Germany’s kit for more than 70 years, although the DFB’s announcement last month that it would switch manufacturer for financial reasons caused controversy.

“I can hardly imagine the German jersey without the three stripes,” the country’s economy minister, Robert Habeck, said at the time.

“For me, Adidas and black-red-gold always belonged together. A piece of German identity.”

Bavarian premier Markus Soeder called the necessity of the national team appearing in Adidas’ three stripes “as clear as the fact that the ball is round and a game lasts 90 minutes”.

“The success story began in 1954 with the unforgettable World Cup victory, which gave our country self-confidence again,” he added.

Ben Miller
Ben Miller
Ben has more than 10 years' experience in sports journalism, covering two EURO tournaments, European club competitions, the Premier League, EFL and WSL and a variety of other major sporting events.

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