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German National Team in Nazi Controversy Over Jersey: Adidas Stops Sale of Jersey Number

Photo: X/Screenshot

Adidas has had to halt the sale of a specific version of the German national team jersey because it gives very wrong associations.

Aside from the much-discussed switch of equipment suppliers from Adidas to Nike for the year 2027, the DFB has made a good impression in public in recent days. The commercial that presented the new jerseys has “exceeded expectations” in terms of reactions and its reach, as Adidas spokesperson Oliver Brüggen told Sid.

Furthermore, the pink away jersey reached a record sales number. No other away jersey had such a successful sales launch. According to Brüggen, the home jersey is also “very popular.” Adidas did not disclose what this means in terms of sales numbers. 

Jersey digits stir controversy with Nazi symbols

However, another aspect of the new kit has caused confusion. It’s not about the color combination or the design in general, but more about the digits of the jersey numbers.

Last week, journalist Tobias Huch pointed out on X that the design of the digit “4” in particular could cause irritation. These irritations grow even more if a fan wants to order the jersey number “44.” At first glance, it may not be noticeable, but upon closer inspection, there is a shocking resemblance to the forbidden SS rune.

The SS rune was the symbol of the Schutzstaffel, a terror state organization that emerged from the Storm Detachment of the Hitler regime from 1933 to 1945. The initials “SS” were later written and printed in rune form. In Germany, the symbol is banned today. Displaying or wearing it is a criminal offense.

The “44” will not be seen on the field. No national player wears this number. In the German squad, the numbers are assigned from 1 to 23. However, fans can personalize their jersey with any number and name, including 44.

Adidas stops the sale of DFB jersey with number 44

Adidas had already introduced restrictions on names. It is not possible to flock a jersey with “Hitler” or “Führer.” That does not comply with the company’s guidelines. The jersey number “44” was not blocked on Easter Monday.

However, Brüggen made it clear to Bild: “We will block the number 44 as soon as possible.” This happened quicker than expected. By Monday, not only was the sale of jersey number 44 blocked, but also the delivery of already ordered jerseys was stopped.

In a second quote, Brüggen further explained: “All attempts to promote divisive or exclusionary views are not part of our brand values, and we strongly reject all insinuations that this was our intention. Our company stands for promoting diversity and inclusion.”

DFB responds and announces design change

The DFB also responded to the tabloid. The association was reportedly unaware of the controversy surrounding the jersey number. At the same time, the DFB distanced itself from right-wing ideology and made it clear that it would not use the number 44.

In a statement on X on Monday, the DFB explained that it takes “the hints very seriously” and does not want to “provide a platform for discussions.” Therefore, “an alternative design of the number 4 will be developed.”

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