The Moroccan Ministry of Culture has asked sports brand Adidas to withdraw its new shirt collection from Algeria national football teamalleging that in the drawing there was an appropriation of symbols of the “Moroccan cultural heritage”, confirmed this Thursday to AFP the lawyer of the portfolio, Mourad Elajouti.
“This is a theft of motifs inspired by Moroccan tiles (a ceramic characteristic of Moroccan decorative art), which appear on Algerian sports shirts, which forced the Ministry to act urgently,” explained Elajouti.
In an email sent to Adidas CEO Kasper Rorsted, of which AFP obtained a copy, the Moroccan lawyer denounces a “cultural appropriation and an attempt to steal a form of Moroccan cultural heritage to use it out of context”.
The controversy takes place amidst the climate of permanent tension between neighboring countries in North Africa. Algeria broke off diplomatic relations with Morocco in August 2021, accusing Rabat of “hostile acts”. The decision was then considered “completely unjustified” by the Moroccan government.
“The Moroccan Ministry of Culture reserves the right to use all possible legal remedies in German courts (country where Adidas is headquartered) and in international courts,” warned the lawyer.
On September 23, Adidas presented the Algeria national team kits for the 2022/2023 season on Twitter, “inspired by culture and history”. The new design, according to the company, was inspired by the Palácio do Mexuar, located in the city of Temclen, in northwest Algeria.
Inspired by culture and history. Made to fit for royalty 👑🇩🇿
— adidas Football (@adidasfootball) September 23, 2022