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Adidas Bans Customized German Football Jerseys With ’44’ After Nazi Symbol Controversy

As Germany prepares to host the European Football Championship later this year, the controversy surrounding the kit's design serves as a reminder of the country's ongoing efforts to address its troubled past and promote inclusivity and diversity in the present.
 Adidas Bans Customized German Football Jerseys With ’44’ After Nazi Symbol Controversy

Adidas has withdrawn Jersey number 44 because of its resemblance to a Nazi SS unit symbol.

Adidas, the German sportswear giant, has taken swift action in response to concerns raised over the resemblance of the number “44” on the newly released German football kit to a symbol used by the Nazi SS units during World War II. The decision came after media outlets and historians pointed out the questionable design, reports DPA.

Oliver Brüggen, an Adidas spokesperson, announced that the company would block the personalization of jerseys with the number 44 on their online store. “We as a company are committed to opposing xenophobia, anti-Semitism, violence, and hatred in every form,” Brüggen stated.

The controversy surrounding the kit’s design extends beyond the numerical issue. The choice of a bright pink color for the away jersey has also sparked debate, with critics claiming it is an untraditional move aimed at generating revenue for the German Football Association (DFB), while supporters argue that it represents the country’s diversity.

The DFB has acknowledged the problem and is working with their partner, 11Teamsport, to develop a new font design for the number 4, which will require approval from the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA). The current design of the number 4 has also been likened to a symbol used by the Nazi Hitler Youth organization.

Adidas has been the manufacturer of German football jerseys since the 1950s, but the DFB recently announced a decision to switch to Nike as the kit supplier from 2027 onwards, a move that has drawn criticism from German Economy Minister Robert Habeck for lacking “patriotism.”

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As Germany prepares to host the European Football Championship later this year, the controversy surrounding the kit’s design serves as a reminder of the country’s ongoing efforts to address its troubled past and promote inclusivity and diversity in the present.

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