Scandal in Germany. The new football jerseys are very reminiscent of Nazi runes, Adidas is backing down

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In neighboring Germany, he is solving a case that spilled over from the world of sports into politics. Adidas, the manufacturer of the soccer jerseys of the German national team for the upcoming European Championship, has to modify the design of the kits after the media drew attention to their similarity to the symbol used by the Nazi SS units.

The issue of dubious symbolism was first raised by historian Michael König, according to whom the design of the kits is “highly questionable”. A special controversy arose around the number 44, which most closely resembles the abbreviation SS. Nazi Germany appropriated this Germanic rune during World War II.

Adidas spokesman Oliver Brüggen denied that the kit’s resemblance to Nazi symbols was intentional. “As a society, we are determined to stand up against xenophobia, anti-Semitism, violence and hatred in any form,” he said. The company then told the BBC that the numbers on the jerseys were designed by the German Football Association (DFB) and its partners.

The union subsequently said it would review the design. “The DFB will review numbers 0-9 and then submit numbers 1-26 to UEFA for consideration. None of the parties involved saw the proximity of Nazi symbolism in the jersey design process,” the union distanced itself on the X network. “However, we take this information very seriously and do not want to provide a platform for discussion. Together with our partner 11teamsports, we will develop an alternative design for number 4 and coordinate it with UEFA,” he added. In addition, Adidas banned the sale of the jersey with the number 44.

Adidas has been producing German jerseys since the 1950s, which is why many were angered that the German national football team is not supposed to play in its jerseys from 2027. The decision of the German Football Association (DFB) to give preference to the American sports fashion manufacturer Nike was described by some politicians as unpatriotic.

“I can hardly imagine a German football jersey without three stripes. Adidas and the German national football team have always belonged to each other for me, it is a piece of German identity,” said Robert Habeck, German Minister of Economy for the Green Party. He told the German Football Association that he would like “more local patriotism”.

Adidas is based in Herzogenaurach, Bavaria and employs more than 59,000 people according to 2022 data. The newspaper Die Welt wrote that Habeck’s display of patriotism is surprising. His detractors like to recall a quote from one of his books where he wrote that “love for his country always made him want to vomit”.

Germany’s Social Democratic Health Minister Karl Lauterbach called the decision to replace Adidas jerseys with Nike clothing “wrong” and lamented that “commercialism is destroying tradition and a piece of the motherland.”

Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder stated that “that the national eleven plays in three lanes was as clear as the ball being round and the game lasting 90 minutes”. He recalled that in 1954, the victory of the German football team at the World Cup gave the country a sense of self-confidence again. That was the first time the footballers wore Adidas equipment, and it was the same for all three of their other World Cup wins. Therefore, Söder considers it “bad and incomprehensible that this story has to end now”. According to a politician from the conservative Christian Social Union (CSU), German football should not be “a ball in the fight of international concerns”.

The German economic daily Handelsblatt, citing its sources, wrote that Nike will pay the German union a nine-figure sum in euros annually. With at least 100 million euros (over 2.5 billion crowns) per year, the DFB will receive at least twice as much as the current 50 million euros per year from Adidas.


The article is in Czech

Tags: #Scandal Germany football jerseys #reminiscent Nazi #runes #Adidas #backing

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