Morocco demands Adidas withdraw Algeria football tops
Morocco fans cheer their team during the friendly football match between Morocco and Paraguay at the Benito Villamarin stadium in Seville on September 27(Photo: AFP)

RABAT, Morocco, (AFP) - Morocco has asked German sportswear giant Adidas to cancel newly designed football tops for arch-rival Algeria accusing it of appropriating "Moroccan cultural heritage", according to a lawyer's letter seen Thursday.

Moroccan lawyer Mourad Elajouti, on behalf of the culture ministry, says that a geometrical design pattern known as "zellige", common in Morocco's multi-coloured ceramic mosaics, appears on the Algerian top.

In a letter sent to Adidas CEO Kasper Rorsted, Elajouti demanded the withdrawal within two weeks of the Algerian sports top it claimed was "inspired by the art" of Moroccan zellige.

In a copy of the letter seen by AFP, the lawyer denounces "cultural appropriation and an attempt to steal a form of Moroccan cultural heritage".

On September 23, Adidas released on Twitter a photo of the new 2022-2023 season kit for the Algerian national team it said was "inspired by culture and history".

The design, according to Adidas, draws its inspiration from the Mechouar Palace in Tlemcen, in northwestern Algeria.

Morocco and Algeria have long been at odds over the disputed territory of Western Sahara, where the Algiers-backed Polisario Front is seeking independence from Rabat's rule.

Algeria severed ties in August 2021, accusing Rabat of "hostile acts", a move which Morocco said was "completely unjustified".

"The Moroccan Ministry of Culture reserves the right to use all possible legal remedies before the German and international courts", the lawyer added in the letter.

It also threatens to bring the case "before organisations relating to the protection of heritage and copyright" including the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at https://bit.ly/epaper-login

HOUSE RULES

  1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper; email addresses will not be published.
  2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.
  3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.
  4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.
  5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed: advertising@jamaicaobserver.com.
  6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email: community@jamaicaobserver.com.
  7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy