Puma pressured into embarrassing apology to Dortmund supporters over third kit
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Puma have been forced into apologising to Borussia Dortmund fans over their controversial new third kit that was debuted in their Champions League win over Besiktas on Wednesday evening. The German heavyweights got their European campaign off to a promising start under the lights in Turkey, with goals from Jude Bellingham and Erling Haaland firing Marco Rose’s side to an impressive victory.
However, the match also drew attention to Dortmund’s interesting choice of kit, which did not feature the club badge in a prominent position.
The words ‘BVB 09’ were emblazoned across the front of the shirt, but their iconic logo only had a clear presence on the shorts.
It did feature on the upper left chest, but only very faintly and was not visible from any sort of distance.
Puma has opted against including club badges on a number of third kits for high-profile teams within its stable of clubs this season.
The likes of Manchester City, AC Milan and Marseille have also received similar offerings, with the shirts all of the same template and design but in varying colour schemes.
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Dortmund’s kit in particular has sparked a huge backlash among the club’s fan base, with Puma CEO Bjorn Gulden issuing an apology to supporters after their negative reaction was made clear on social media.
“We regret the fans’ anger and would like to apologise to them,” Gulden told Kicker.
“We have really taken the feedback to heart and will take it into account for future jerseys, just as we have done in the past.”
Puma have made Dortmund’s kits for nine years after taking over from Kappa back in 2012 on a long-term basis.
Their current deal is set to run until 2027 and is reportedly worth around £26.7million per season.
Dortmund’s polarising new third kit had to be altered before it was released by Puma after previous criticism from supporters following a premature leak on Twitter.
The original edition of the shirt did not feature their badge in any way, shape or form and the initial design was even rejected by the club itself.
The kit will only be used in domestic and continental cup competitions and not in the Bundesliga this season.
City were the first of Puma’s elite crop to release their new third shirt last month, with its unveiling being met by widespread criticism from supporters.
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Puma employee Ulrich Planer declared after the announcement that the latest batch of third-choice kits were created to rip up the rulebook of what is expected of a football shirt.
He also pointed out that City’s iteration can still be easily identified as belonging to them despite the lack of a club badge in its usual place on the chest.
“The third kit is the shirt where we really want to go out there and show what we can do, show something different that has not been seen yet,” said Planer.
“We wanted to do something that, at least in the European market, has not been done in such a bold statement.
“From far away, you can still see that this is a Man City shirt.”
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