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Spain’s Adidas World Cup Football Shirt Sparks Anger

In football, controversy usually
surrounds the referee rather than
the shirts the players are wearing.
Not this week in Spain.
The Spanish national team released
a kit for next year’s World Cup but
it proved extremely divisive among
the country’s fans.
Critics say the colours of the shirt
appear similar to the flag of Spain’s
Second Republic, rather than the
current Spanish national flag. The
Second Republic started in 1931
when the King was overthrown and
lasted just until 1939.
The flag can evoke painful
memories for those whose family
members suffered during the civil
war, which occurred between 1936
and 1939. The conflict was won by
the nationalists and led to Francisco
Franco becoming the dictator of
Spain. He was in power until his
death in 1975.
But the Spanish football federation
and designers Adidas deny the kit
has political connotations.
The row comes at a time of growing
political divisions in Spain.
What are people saying about the new
Basically, the problem is the purple.
Or is it purple?
Spain’s flag is red and yellow. This
shirt adds blue to that, in homage to
the 1994 World Cup kit.
But it looks purple and thereby
resembles the republican flag, still
used by anti-monarchists today.
Javier Andrés Roldán, a law
graduate from Cantabria, said that
“the shirt is an insult” . “I hope the
football association react and don’t
allow us to play with these colours,”
he said.
JuanCa wrote that the team
wouldn’t have his support and that
he “hoped they were eliminated in
the first round”.
Pablo Iglesias, the leader of the left-
wing Podemos party and a
republican, tweeted : “It’s been a
while since the Spanish national
team wore such a nice shirt. All
together with the reds.”
He stoked the flames further by
adding that “in 2017, a paranoid
and corrupt right-wing government
will end up banning colours that
they do not like”.
“The purple [on the shirt] is not only
beautiful; it also represents Spanish
democratic rebellion,” he said.
But Spanish football expert Sid
Lowe told the BBC: “The idea that
this was some kind of deliberate
political statement from Adidas and
the Spanish football federation is
He said: “The amount of noise this
has created is baffling, although
given the political context and the
way in which some sort of ‘debate’
seems to be started every single
time the national team gets
together, perhaps this shouldn’t be a
Why has there been such a fuss?
Spain is currently undergoing a
sensitive political moment after an
illegal referendum in Catalonia,
which has laid bare some political
dividing lines in the country.
Opposing protesters are taking to
the streets in Barcelona, Madrid
and elsewhere, while the region’s
government has been removed and
some of its leaders charged with
The main leader, Carles
Puigdemont, is in exile – and
citizens across Spain are
considering their loyalties and
asking themselves: What, exactly, is
my country and what does it mean
to me?
So it probably wasn’t the best time
for something like this to happen.
But in a press release on Tuesday
evening, Adidas and the Spanish
football federation sought to clarify
that “the shirt that the Spanish team
will wear during the 2018 World
Cup, does not have any political
The pattern is said to have been
inspired by the shirt worn by the
Spanish team at the 1994 World Cup
in the United States.
Spain’s 2018 World Cup kit is red
with a yellow, blue and red
diamond pattern on the right side.
In 1994, three bands of diamonds,
two which were yellow and one
navy, ran down the right side of the
red Spain jersey.
Getting shirty: when have football
shirts become political?
Last year, football’s world
governing body fined England,
Scotland, Wales and Northern
Ireland for their use of the poppy to
commemorate Armistice day,
deeming it to be a political
symbol. They later changed their
position and lifted the ban.
FC Barcelona are effectively
perceived within the region of
Catalonia as a national team. They
wear the senyera (the Catalan flag)
as an alternative kit.
During the 1982-83 season,
Brazilian player Socrates organised
his Corinthians team-mates into a
political force. Brazil was under a
military dictatorship at the time,
and the then-captain of the Brazil
national team protested in favour of
democratic election

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