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Germany football kit option blocked over Nazi symbolism

nazi
Adidas has banned football fans from buying German football kits customised with the number 44, after media raised their resemblance to the symbol used by World War Two-era Nazi SS units (photo via Adidas)

The design for the number four on Germany’s national team shirts will be changed over concerns that the number ’44’ resembled the symbol used by Nazi ‘SS’ units, the German Football Association (DFB) said.

The new kit, launched before Germany host the European Championship in June and July, debuted during their 2-0 friendly win over France last month.

“The DFB checks the numbers 0-9 and then submits the numbers 1-26 to UEFA for review. None of the parties involved saw any proximity to Nazi symbolism in the creation process of the jersey design,” the DFB said in a statement on X.

“Nevertheless, we take the comments very seriously and do not want to provide a platform for discussions… we will develop an alternative design for the number 4 and coordinate it with UEFA.”

The DFB’s official supplier Adidas had earlier said that they would remove the number 44 from their range of customisation options.

“We will block the number 44 as quickly as possible,” Adidas spokesman Oliver Bruggen told German media. “As a company we actively oppose xenophobia, anti-Semitism, violence and hatred in any form.”

The issue was first raised by historian Michael König, who said the design of the kits was “very questionable”.

The SS rune was designed in 1929 for use by the Nazi units. Members of the SS ranged from Gestapo agents to concentration camp guards. SS duties included administering death camps where millions of Jews and others were put to death.

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