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Adidas bans number 44 on German soccer jerseys over concerns it resembles Nazi SS symbol

Adidas has barred German fans from customizing soccer jerseys with the number 44 after concerns that the figures resembled the World War II-era Nazi SS symbol.

The German Football Association’s font used on the customizable jerseys on Adidas’ website makes the digit “44” look like the two lightning bolt-like designs featured in the flag of the Schutzstaffel, more commonly known as the SS — the major paramilitary organization under Adolf Hitler.

German historian Michael K?nig drew attention to the shirt’s dubious design on X over the weekend.

Soccer fans said that the customizable German Football Association jerseys on Adidas’ site represented the World War II-era symbol on the Nazi Schutzstaffel flag.

“Historically it is very questionable to allow such jerseys for the home European Championship,” K?nig wrote, per a German-to-English translation on X, alongside a screenshot of the item on Adidas’ website, where it retails for roughly $108.

Though soccer squads are often capped at around 23 players per team, Adidas allowed fans to customize German Football Association-branded jerseys with the number of their choosing, the BBC earlier reported.

An Adidas spokesperson has since confirmed to The Post: “We will block personalization of the jerseys.”

The company rep also said that “divisive or exclusionary views are not part of our values as a brand,” and Adidas instead “stands for the promotion of diversity and inclusion.”

“We actively oppose xenophobia, anti-Semitism, violence and hatred in any form.”

The digits “44” look like the two lightning bolt-like designs featured in the flag of the Schutzstaffel, more commonly known as the SS. Roger Viollet via Getty Images
“Historically it is very questionable to allow such jerseys for the home European Championship,” K?nig wrote, per a German-to-English translation on X. DFB Fanshop

Adidas, which is headquartered in Herzogenaurach, Germany, has developed the country’s soccer jerseys for decades.

The apparel giant’s contract, however, is set to expire in 2027 and it will be replaced by rival Nike.

Separately, Adidas blamed the German Football Association for the controversy, adding in a statement to The Post that the governing body of soccer in Germany and its partner 11teamsports are responsible for the digits’ design.

Adidas has blocked personalization of the jersey to bar customers from ordering a shirt with “44” on it. Adidas has allowed fans to customize with whichever number they choose. AFP via Getty Images

Representatives for 11teamsports did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment.

The association, also known as the DFB, reiterated the message on X, where it insisted that “the DFB checks the numbers 0-9 and then submits the numbers 1-26 to UEFA [Union of European Football Associations] for review. None of the parties involved saw any proximity to Nazi symbolism in the development process of the jersey design.”

“Nevertheless, we take the information very seriously and do not want to provide a platform for discussions,” the DFB added in a subsequent post, noting that it “will develop an alternative an alternative design for the number 4 and coordinate it with the UEFA.”

Adidas posted its first annual loss in more than three decades earlier this month, and warned that US sales will drop this year as the German sportswear giant continues selling off its remaining Yeezy inventory. Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto/Shutterstock

The latest claims of antisemitism against Adidas echo those from October 2022, when the company’s partnership with rapper Kanye West, now known as Ye, fell apart over his public antisemitic rants, including a post on then-Twitter that said he would go “death con 3 ON JEWISH PEOPLE.”

As a result, Adidas posted its first annual loss in more than three decades earlier this month.

Adidas also warned that US sales will drop this year as the German sportswear giant continues selling off its remaining Yeezy inventory.

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