Nazi emblem issue prompts Adidas jersey numbering revision in Germany

The number “4” that appears on the national jerseys of Germany will be redesigned by the German soccer authorities in response to allegations that it is similar to an emblem that was utilized by Nazi paramilitary organizations. The announcement was issued on Monday by the German Football Association (DFB) after users of social media started utilizing an online customizing tool to design jerseys with the number “44” on them, pointing out the similarities to the insignia of the Schutzstaffel, also known as the SS.

In a statement that was published on X, the German Football Federation (DFB) stated that it had previously sent the numbers 1 to 26 to the regulatory body of soccer in Europe, UEFA, for evaluation. The statement further stated that “none of the parties involved saw any proximity to Nazi symbolism in the process of creating the jersey design.” An alternative design for the digit was being developed by the association, which stated that it was taking the subject “very seriously” and was working on producing it.

Despite the fact that neither the men’s nor the women’s German national teams are currently using the number 44, Adidas, the official provider of uniforms, permitted buyers to personalize their jerseys by adding a number ranging from 00 to 99 and a name that may be up to ten letters long. The photographs that were produced as a result of Adidas’ online shop were subsequently widely disseminated around the internet.

Oliver Bruggen, a representative for Adidas, provided the following statement to German media earlier: “As a company, we actively oppose xenophobia, anti-Semitism, violence, and hatred in any form.” Bruggen also stated that the sportswear giant would “block the number 44 as quickly as possible.”

As of Tuesday, the ability to personalize the jerseys used by the German team had been taken from Adidas’ websites. However, the ability to provide customization for the uniforms worn by other nations has not been removed. The request for comment that CNN made to Adidas regarding its decision and whether or not the personalization service will be reinstated without the number 4 was not immediately met with a response from Adidas.

At the end of March, the German Football Federation (DFB) presented the new uniforms that would be worn by both the men’s and women’s teams in Germany. The jerseys were first worn by the men’s squad during a match against France, and they are scheduled to be worn for the UEFA European Championship in 2024, which will be held in Germany this summer with Germany serving as the host nation.

It was announced by the German Football Federation (DFB) a little over two weeks ago that Nike will replace Adidas as the official shirt supplier for the German soccer team beginning in the year 2027. Beginning in the 1950s, Adidas has been the manufacturer of the country’s jerseys. During this time period, the men’s team of Germany has won four World Cups, either under the name Germany or West Germany. There were a lot of people on social media who pointed out the similarities between the numbers and the infamous SS emblem, which led to Adidas making the decision to prevent the shirts from being personalized.

Adolf Hitler was the one who initiated the formation of the SS, which was referred to as the “political soldiers” of the Nazi Party. This organization took on a variety of policing, security, and military responsibilities, including the supervision of the Gestapo. At the time that the Nazis came to power, it had expanded from a tiny unit consisting of less than 300 individuals to an organization that included more than 50,000 members. In subsequent years, it became linked to some of the most heinous crimes that the Nazis committed during World War II, including the operation of concentration camps like Auschwitz.

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