The announced change of supplier at the German Football Association (DFB) from Adidas to Nike is not leaving top German politicians indifferent.

After Economics Minister and Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck (Greens), Health Minister Karl Lauterbach also criticized the decision. “Adidas should no longer be the national jersey in football? Instead a US company? I think it’s a wrong decision where commerce is destroying a tradition and a piece of home…” wrote the SPD politician on X, the former Twitter.

Habeck had explained: “I can hardly imagine the German jersey without the three stripes. For me, Adidas and black-red-gold always belonged together. A piece of German identity. I would have liked a bit more local patriotism.”

Bavaria’s Prime Minister Markus Söder also criticized the change of supplier. “The success story began in 1954 with the unforgettable World Cup victory, which gave our country self-confidence again. That’s why it is wrong, a shame and also incomprehensible that this story should end now,” wrote the CSU politician on X (formerly Twitter). The national team “plays in three stripes – that was as clear as the fact that the ball is round and a game lasts 90 minutes.”

“German football is pure home – and not a pawn in international corporate battles. Commerce is not everything. The DFB would have benefited from more straightforwardness despite all the economic challenges,” explained the 57-year-old Söder. German football has always been “a piece of German economic history”. Adidas is based in Herzogenaurach in the Free State of Bavaria.

Change for Merz “unpatriotic”

The change in supplier is also incomprehensible for CDU chairman Friedrich Merz. “This is a decision that is completely incomprehensible to me,” said the opposition leader in the Bundestag in Berlin. “And I have to be honest: she is also unpatriotic.” Of course, the DFB also has to work economically. But there are also other considerations for him to vote on, said Merz. He pointed out that the DFB had become football world champions four times with Adidas.

For Thuringia’s Prime Minister Bodo Ramelow, the change in supplier is “strange”. If Adidas or Puma are a trademark for German quality, then he would be happy if the national team also advertised German quality to the outside world, said the left-wing politician on RTL/ntv. “This reduction solely to money and dollar signs really gets on my nerves,” Ramelow explained.

On Thursday, the DFB announced that the US sporting goods manufacturer Nike will equip all German national teams from 2027. This marks the end of a partnership with Adidas that has lasted more than 70 years. Adidas was the supplier for all four World Cup titles and all three European Championship titles for men as well as for the two World Cup titles and the eight European Championship trophies for women. The collaboration with Nike is initially scheduled to run until 2034.

According to information from the “Handelsblatt”, the US sporting goods manufacturer Nike will have the new equipment contract with the German Football Association cost more than 100 million euros per year from 2027. This is said to have become known from industry circles, as the paper reports. This would mean that Nike would far exceed the previous contract amount of the current supplier Adidas. Long-time partner Adidas, which will continue to equip all national teams until the end of 2026, is expected to transfer around 50 million euros annually to the DFB. The association announced the new deal on Thursday, but did not mention the contract amount. It simply said that Nike had “made by far the best economic offer.”