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Adidas Bans Customization of German Football Kits with Number 44 Over Nazi Symbol Concerns

In a move to address concerns over potential historical connotations, Adidas has enforced a ban on clients customizing German football kits with the number 44. The decision comes amid fears that the number bears a resemblance to symbols used by World War Two-era Nazi SS units.

Adidas Bans Customization of German Football Kits with Number 44 Over Nazi Symbol Concerns

An Adidas spokesperson acknowledged the depth of the issue, stating, “We will block personalization of the jerseys.” The decision reflects the company’s commitment to sensitivity regarding symbols associated with past atrocities.

The symbolic SS rune, which originated in 1929 for use by Nazi soldiers, evokes painful memories of the Holocaust. While Adidas maintains that the resemblance was unintentional, criticism surrounding the matter persists.

The German Football Association (DFB) clarified that the numbers on the shirts were designed in collaboration with partners and submitted for UEFA review. Initially, there were no concerns raised, but an alternative design for the number 4 is now in development.

Adidas’s long-standing partnership with German football faces challenges, particularly with the DFB’s decision to switch to American giant Nike as the kit manufacturer in 2027. This move has drawn criticism from Economy Minister Robert Habeck, who perceives it as a lack of patriotism.

In addition to the controversy surrounding the number 44, critics have also questioned the choice of pink as part of the away kit. Historian Michael König described the design as “very questionable,” sparking widespread debate.

Supporters of the pink color defend it as a symbol of diversity, while opponents argue that it deviates from tradition and serves commercial interests rather than cultural representation.

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As discussions surrounding symbolism and representation continue, Adidas faces the challenge of navigating historical sensitivities while maintaining its partnership with German football.

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