Adidas Bans Custom German Football Kits Amid Nazi Symbolism Concerns

Adidas has implemented a ban on football enthusiasts customizing German football jerseys with the number 44 due to their perceived resemblance to symbols associated with the Nazi SS units from World War Two, a move prompted by media scrutiny.

The decision to block personalisation of the jerseys follows outcry over the design’s apparent connection to the SS, infamous for their involvement in the atrocities committed by the Nazis during the war. Historian Michael König initially raised concerns about the kits, labelling their design as “very questionable.”

The SS symbol, originally crafted in 1929 for use by Nazi units, holds a deeply disturbing historical significance, representing a regime responsible for heinous crimes against humanity, including administering death camps where millions, including Jews, were systematically murdered.

Despite assertions from Adidas spokesperson Oliver Brüggen that the resemblance was unintentional and the company’s staunch commitment to combating xenophobia and anti-Semitism, the controversy surrounding the kits persisted.

The German Football Association (DFB), in collaboration with its partners, oversaw the design of the jerseys, with submissions undergoing review by UEFA during the development phase. While initial assessments failed to identify any proximity to Nazi symbolism, subsequent backlash has led to plans for an alternative design for the number 4.

In addition to the SS symbol controversy, the choice of bright pink as the away colour for the kits has also sparked debate. While supporters argue that the colour symbolises the country’s diversity, critics view it as an unconventional choice, possibly motivated by financial gain for the DFB.

Amidst these controversies, the DFB’s decision to shift kit manufacturing from Adidas to Nike, starting in 2027, has drawn criticism from Economy Minister Robert Habeck, who decried it as lacking patriotism. Germany’s hosting of the upcoming European Football Championship adds further significance to the ongoing discussions surrounding the national team’s attire.

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