22.03.2024 10:31 h

Berlin says German FA lacks 'patriotism' for dropping Adidas

German football's decision to drop Adidas as its kit supplier sparked dismay in Berlin on Friday, with the economy minister blasting the switch to US sportswear giant Nike as a lack of "patriotism".

"I can hardly imagine the Germany shirt without the three stripes," Economy Minister Robert Habeck said in a statement sent to AFP.

"For me, Adidas and black-red-gold always belonged together," Habeck said, describing the pairing as a "piece of German identity".

With the homegrown sportswear brand and the economy both experiencing tough times, Habeck said he "would have hoped for more patriotism" from the German Football Association (DFB).

The DFB on Thursday said it would end its decades-long partnership with Adidas, selecting Nike as its new supplier from 2027.

German national teams have worn Adidas gear since the 1950s, with the partnership becoming synonymous with the success on the pitch.

The shock announcement came just a few months before the men's European football championships are set to kick off in Germany in June.

The switch from Adidas was the "wrong decision", Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said Thursday on X, formerly Twitter.

The move saw "commerce destroy a tradition and a piece of home", Lauterbach said.

The deal with Nike, which will run through 2034, was "by far the best financial offer" on the table, DFB chief executive Holger Blask said in a statement.

According to the Handelsblatt financial daily, the contract with the US company was worth around 100 million euros ($108 million) a year -- twice as much as the reported value of the Adidas deal.

The loss of the German national team contract is a bitter blow for Adidas, which recorded its first loss in 30 years in 2023.