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Germany To Redesign Adidas Soccer Jersey Numbering Amid Nazi Symbol Controversy

German football authorities have announced they will redesign the number “4” on the country’s national jerseys amid claims it resembles a logo used by Nazi paramilitary units. 

The German Football Association (DFB) made the announcement Monday, April 1 after social media users began using an online customisation service to create shirts bearing the number “44” and pointing out the similarity of the number to the Schutzstaffel, or SS, logo. 

In a statement posted to X, the DFB said it had earlier submitted numbers 1 to 26 to European soccer’s governing body, UEFA, for review, and that “none of the parties involved saw any similarities to Nazi symbolism in the creation process of the jersey design.”

The German FA said it was taking the matter “very seriously” and was developing “an alternative design” for the number sign.

While 44 is not currently used by the German men’s or women’s teams,  Adidas, the official uniform supplier of the teams allowed customers to personalise the jerseys with a number, from 00 to 99, and a name up to 10 letters long. The resulting images generated by Adidas’ online shop were then widely shared online. 

Adidas spokesperson Oliver Bruggen also told German media that the sportswear giant would “block the number 44 as quickly as possible,” adding:  “As a company, we actively oppose xenophobia, anti-Semitism, violence and hatred in any form.”

On Tuesday, the option to customise the German team’s jerseys had been removed from Adidas’ websites, though it remains in place for other uniforms of other countries. Adidas did not immediately respond. 

The DFB unveiled Germany’s new uniforms, which will be worn by both men’s and women’s teams, in late March. The men’s team debuted the jerseys during a match against France, and they are set to be worn at the 2024 UEFA European Championship, which is being hosted by Germany this summer.

 

 

 



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