Adidas line: Morocco demands a change in the design of Algerian football shirts

The Moroccan government has asked sportswear company Adidas to release its new collection of jerseys for the Algerian national football team, alleging that the mosaic pattern featured constitutes “cultural appropriation” of Moroccan heritage.

Morocco’s Ministry of Youth, Culture and Communication said in a statement that the design of the rival North African team’s jerseys depicts a traditional mosaic of colorful earthenware tiles, known in Morocco as zellige. .

“This is cultural appropriation, an attempt to steal a form of traditional Moroccan cultural heritage,” the statement said.

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The art and craft of zellige are present and practiced throughout North Africa and in Andalusia, an autonomous region of Spain.

Adidas did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Associated Press.

A Moroccan government lawyer, Mourad ElAddi, told the AP he had been instructed by the culture ministry to send “a legal warning” to Adidas.

In an email to Adidas executives, Eladditioni asked the German company to either withdraw the collection within two weeks or issue a statement “to identify Morocco’s zellige art as a source of inspiration” for the design of Algerian team jerseys.

Adidas unveiled the new design last week, saying on its Middle East and North Africa Instagram account that the “Algerian culture clothing collection” was inspired by the “architectural design of the iconic El Mechouar Palace” in the city ​​of Tlemcen, in northern Algeria.

Morocco filed a complaint as tensions between the two North African neighbors worsened. They largely stem from a dispute over Western Sahara, a territory annexed by Morocco in 1975. The Sahrawis of the Algeria-backed Polisario Front have been calling for independence from the region for decades.

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