Why is Germany's number 44 kit so controversial?

Why is Germany's number 44 kit so controversial?
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SNTV / VideoElephant

Adidas' new kits for Euro 2024 host nation Germany have dropped - but the number 44 which was available on personalised kits has sparked outrage due to its resemblance to a Nazi symbol.

It's one of the last kits Adidas will make for Germany in a partnership that will have lasted 70 years when Nike take over, reportedly for financial reasons, in 2027.

But it's caused a stir as there are claims the number 44 looks like the SS logo.

The SS, or Schutzstaffel, was a major paramilitary organisation under Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party in Nazi Germany which was most responsible for the genocidal murder of millions of Jews and millions of others during the Holocaust.

When in use at the Euros, the squad will be numbered 1-23 but there was the option to buy a personalised shirt with any number on it up to and including 99 on the online Adidas store.

But the number 44 option has now been pulled and the design of the number four itself will be reworked.

"None of the parties involved saw any proximity to Nazi symbolism in the development process of the shirt design," the German Football Association (DFB) said on X / Twitter.

It said an alternative design of the number four will be worked on with Adidas and submitted to UEFA.

An Adidas spokesperson is reported to have said: "We will block the number 44 as quickly as possible.

"As a company, we actively oppose xenophobia, antisemitism, violence and hatred in any form. Any attempts to promote divisive or exclusionary views are not part of our values as a brand and we firmly reject any suggestions that this was our intention."

The newly released kits had already sparked a debate in Germany over the choice of pink away shirts, said to be designed to celebrate the diversity of the country.

It's not the first kit that will be seen at Euro 2024 that's sparked outrage - England's new white home kit has a multicoloured cross on the back of the collar which has caused a stir among some.

One of the most controversial kits in history was the Fiorentina kit of the 1992/93 season - it's reported it took until December for anyone to realise it had a pattern that resembled swastikas, understood to be unintentional.

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