Nazi symbolism: Germany withdraws football jerseys with number 44

Germany is hosting the European Championship from June 14 to July 14

Soccer Germany Jersey 44 (File) The official jerseys of the German national soccer team for the upcoming European Football Championship 2024 are on display at the headquarters of sporting goods manufacturer adidas AG, in Herzogenaurach, Germany | AP

The German football federation and Adidas have stopped the sale of Germany jerseys with the number 44 because of a resemblance to the logo of the Nazi Party's notorious SS paramilitary units.

Adidas on Monday stopped offering the personalisation of jerseys with names and numbers, and the federation halted the delivery of jerseys with the number 44 from its own online shop. The federation said it was looking for an alternative design for the number 4 together with its partner, 11teamsports.

“None of the parties involved saw any proximity to Nazi symbolism in the development process of the jersey design,” the federation said on X, formerly Twitter.

The moves to withdraw jerseys with number 44 came after it was pointed out that the two fours together resembled the stylized SS used by the Nazi Party's Schutzstaffel group. Commonly known as the SS, it included police units, combat forces and others who ran the concentration camps that carried out the mass killings of civilians during World War II. The stylised SS symbol is banned in Germany today.

Adidas spokesman Oliver Brggen told news agency dpa that the federation and 11teamsports were responsible for the design of the names and numbers on the shirts. “People from around 100 countries work at Adidas. Our company stands for the promotion of diversity and inclusion, and as a company, we actively campaign against xenophobia, antisemitism, violence and hatred in all forms,” Brggen said. “Any attempts to promote divisive or exclusionary views are not part of our values as a brand,” he said.

Brggen said Adidas strongly rejects any suggestions that this was our intention. Germany is hosting the European Championship from June 14 to July 14.


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