Adidas sells three million World Cup shirts

Football fans have snapped up a total of more than three million replica kits of their world-cup winning heroes, Adidas announced, with much of that boost coming in the run-up to Christmas. The team were also honoured as Germany's "Sportsmen of the Year" on Sunday.

Adidas sells three million World Cup shirts
World Cup-winning manager Joachim Löw accepts the award at a gala in Baden Baden on Sunday Photo. DPA

That total is double the comparable figure sold when Germany actually hosted the World Cup back in 2006.

The new version of the top comes with a fourth star added, to symbolize the team's victory in Rio de Janeiro this summer – the fourth time Die Mannschaft (national squad) has held aloft the Jules Rimet trophy.

"In total, we have sold more than three million shirts (since it was presented in November 2013)," Adidas chief executive officer Herbert Hainer told Focus magazine. The latest edition of the jersey, with the fourth star above the German Football Association (DFB) logo, has been a 'big seller' before Christmas, added Hainer.

Meanwhile, the world-cup winning manager Joachim Löw won the coveted "Sportsmen of the Year" competition on Sunday.

At a star-studded gala in Baden-Baden, Löw accepted the award on behalf of his team – currently enjoying the winter break from the Bundesliga.

Although winning the award was virtually a foregone conclusion in the wake of the euphoria surrounding the win in Brazil, it was still a vote of confidence in the German team, who have not replicated their domineering form in recent post-Cup internationals.

"It was the togetherness in the team," German Football Association (DFB) president Wolfgang Niersbach said.

"In those six weeks in Brazil, we did not have any internal tensions."

That comment inadvertently echoes a compliment allegedly paid by England midfielder Stephen Gerrard to the German team, when he said: "Brazil has Neymar, Argentina has Messi, Portugal has Ronaldo. German has a team."

Embarrassingly, it turned out Gerrard never said it – but that didn't stop a German documentary film called "Die Mannschaft" using it as an epigraph when it hit cinemas in the run-up to Christmas.

The other winners in the "Sportsman of the Year" competition were champion skier Maria Höfl-Riesch, who announced her retirement after successfully defending her title at this year's WInter Olympics in Sochi, and discus legend Robert Harting, who is current Olympic, World and European champion.

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Germany’s Adidas and Puma join Facebook ad boycott over hate speech

German sportswear makers Adidas and Puma said Tuesday they would join a growing advertiser boycott over hate speech against Facebook and Instagram in July, following major consumer companies like Levi's and Coca-Cola.

Germany's Adidas and Puma join Facebook ad boycott over hate speech
Puma's headquarter Herzogenaurach. Photo: DPA

“Puma will join the #StopHateForProfit campaign…throughout July,” a spokeswoman told AFP, citing a social media hashtag organised by social justice activists taken up by some of the companies.

The leaping-cat brand “is part of an overall effort to create positive change and improvement in Facebook's platform by demanding the removal of inaccurate, hostile and harmful conversation,” she added.

While he did not reference the hashtag, a spokesman for Puma's hometown rival Adidas said the company would “develop criteria to develop and maintain a cosmopolitan and safe environment that will apply to ourselves and our partners” during a Facebook ad pause also encompassing US subsidiary Reebok.

“Racism, discrimination and hateful comments should have no place either in our company or in our society,” he added.

Facebook shares clawed back Monday some of the $50 billion in market value they had shed as the advertiser boycott picked up pace last week.

Around 200 companies including giants like Starbucks and Unilever have followed the appeal of civil rights groups like the NAACP and Anti-Defamation League to stage the July boycott.

The movement against online hate speech has picked up steam following George Floyd's May 25th death at the hands of a white policeman in Minneapolis.

READ ALSO: Tens of thousands rally across Germany against racism and police brutality

On Friday, Facebook had said it would ban a “wider category of hateful content” in ads and add tags to posts that are “newsworthy” but violate platform rules — following the lead of Twitter, which has used such labels on tweets from US President Donald Trump.

But experts have highlighted the social network's massive advertiser base of small- and medium-sized companies chasing over 2.6 billion worldwide users, potentially limiting the impact of big-name boycotts.

Adidas has itself been in the sights of the global anti-discrimination movement.

Earlier this month, the three-stripe brand rejected claims by employees that it was not doing enough to combat racism, after its human resources chief last year described such complaints as “noise” only discussed in the US.