Politicians in Morocco have accused sportswear brand Adidas of misappropriating Moroccan culture in their designs for the new Algeria playing kit.
The two North African countries have a long and troubled history, and the culture ministry in Morocco believes that have used a design that is insulting to their people – not least in that it features in their detested neighbours’ shirt for the 2022/23 season.
And now they have called in their legal team to demand that the kit, which features a blue, green and yellow geometric pattern, is taken out of circulation.
— Indy Sport (@IndySport) September 30, 2022
The Algerian strip features what Moroccan chiefs believe to be a take on the zellige, a design that while not copyrighted does feature heavily in Moroccan mosaics and tiles.
Mourad Elajouti, a lawyer acting on behalf of the Ministry of Culture in Morocco, wrote to Adidas warning they have two weeks to change the design or they would face further action. He described the kit as ‘an attempt to steal a form of Moroccan cultural heritage’ and that it ‘contributes to the loss and distortion of the identity and history of these [zellige] cultural elements.’
However, Adidas have hit back by claiming that the shirt has been modelled on the Mechouar Palace, which is the former home of the Zayyanid dynasty in the city of Tlemcen.
Hummel ‘Tone Down’ Denmark Kit In World Cup Protest
Meanwhile, the Scandinavian sportswear brand Hummel have decided to protest against alleged human rights infringements in Qatar ahead of the World Cup.
They have revealed their kit design for Denmark for the tournament, and their unique chevron branding – as well as other details on the playing shirt – have been toned down to the point of being monochronic, which effectively means the Danes will be playing in a plain red strip this winter.
This shirt carries with it a message.
We don’t wish to be visible during a tournament that has cost thousands of people their lives.
We support the Danish national team all the way, but that isn’t the same as supporting Qatar as a host nation. pic.twitter.com/7bgMgK7WzS
— hummel (@hummel1923) September 28, 2022
The message behind the stance is simple: Hummel do not want to be ‘visible’ at a tournament hosted by a country with such an appalling human rights record.
“With the Danish national team’s new jerseys, we wanted to send a dual message,” a representative from the company said.
“They are not only inspired by Euro ‘92, paying tribute to Denmark’s greatest football success, but also a protest against Qatar and its human rights record.
“We don’t wish to be visible during a tournament that has cost thousands of people their lives.”
FIFA’s rules prohibit the depiction of political slogans and protests on playing kits, but this rule is usually enforced against those which feature specific words or images – it’s unlikely that the ‘low key’ design can lawfully be opposed.