Berlin slams Adidas-Nike switch as 'lack of patriotism' at German FA. GETTY IMAGES

The German Football Association is to change its sportswear supplier after 70 years. The contract runs until 2027. Robert Habeck, Germany's finance minister, said: "I expected more patriotism" from the association. Adidas is a German multinational company founded in 1949.

The decision by the German Football Association (DFB) to drop multinational sportswear company Adidas as its kit supplier caused consternation in Berlin on Friday. The economy minister criticised the switch to American sportswear giant Nike as a "lack of patriotism". "I can't imagine the German shirt without the three stripes," Economy Minister Robert Habeck said in a statement sent to AFP.

Of course, it's hard to imagine the German team wearing anything other than Adidas, the multinational founded in 1949 and based in the Bavarian town of Herzogenaurach, which has supplied the national team since the 1950s. "For me, Adidas and black, red and gold have always gone together," said Habeck. He described the combination as a "piece of German identity".

At a time when the domestic sportswear brand and the economy are facing difficult times, Habeck said: "I would have expected more patriotism" from the DFB, which announced on Thursday that it was ending its decades-long partnership with Adidas. Nike will be its new supplier from 2027.

"The German Football Association will work with Nike from 2027 to 2034. Nike will equip all DFB national teams and promote German football as a whole," the DFB stressed in a statement. It's certainly news that will resonate with football fans. Germany has always been a benchmark in world football. With four World Cup wins, it is one of the most decorated nations in history. 

Its image has always been more or less the same. The design of the kits it has used to win its titles has followed a very similar pattern, so Adidas has always been a symbol of the national team and its image. 

The announcement also comes months before the men's European Championship begins in Germany in June. As well as the German Economics Minister, one of his colleagues in Berlin also commented on the matter. "It was a wrong decision," Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said on Thursday on X. "With this measure, the industry has destroyed a tradition and a piece of home," Lauterbach said.

The agreement with Nike, which runs until 2034, was "by far the best financial offer" on the table, DFB chief executive Holger Blask said in a statement.

The deal with the US company is worth around €100 million ($108 million) a year, twice the reported value of the Adidas deal, according to German business daily Handelsblatt. Nike has secured one of the most powerful teams in the world, adding another national team to the likes of France, the Netherlands, Portugal, Brazil and England. 

Franz Beckenbauer with the 1974 World Cup and the Adidas West Germany kit. GETTY IMAGES
Franz Beckenbauer with the 1974 World Cup and the Adidas West Germany kit. GETTY IMAGES

Adidas spokesman Oliver Brüggen, on the other hand, said the DFB's decision to change supplier was a surprise and a blow to the three-stripe brand: "Our contract with the DFB runs until the end of 2026. Today the DFB informed us that the association will have a new supplier from 2027," Brüggen told Sky Deutschland.

The image of Beckenbauer, one of the greatest players in history, with his two Ballon d'Or awards and the 1974 World Cup title with Germany in Adidas kit, is one of the iconic images of football. 

The 'Kaiser', a symbol of German football who recently passed away in January 2024, will also be linked in some way to Adidas, which has always outfitted his national team and, for many years, his club, Bayern Munich. In fact, it was in 1974 that Bayern Munich first wore advertising on their shirts in an official football match, with Adidas appearing on the players' chests.