(Bloomberg) -- Adidas AG is preventing people from buying personalized German football uniforms after concerns emerged that the design of the number 44 resembles a symbol used by Nazi-era SS units.

“We have blocked personalization of the jerseys in our online store,” Adidas said in a statement. “As a company we are actively against xenophobia, anti-Semitism, violence and hatred in all forms.” 

German media pointed out that the jagged design of the 44 calls to mind the lightning bolt SS logo of the notorious paramilitary group.

The sporting goods-maker said that the German football association and its partner, not Adidas, are responsible for the design of the numbers on the country’s new football jerseys. Still, the flap risks fresh embarrassment for the brand after Adidas was criticized in 2022 for being slow to cancel its Yeezy collaboration with Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, following antisemitic remarks from the rapper. 

Adidas stock fell 1% in German trading, trimming its gain this year to 11%.

“Any attempts to promote divisive or exclusionary views are not part of our values as a brand and we strongly reject any suggestions that this was our intention,” Adidas said.

The German football association said none of the involved parties noticed any resemblance to Nazi symbols during the design process. Nonetheless, it’s working on an alternative design for the number 4 and reviewing other numbers in coordination with the Union of European Football Associations, it said on X.

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--With assistance from Thomas Hall.

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