Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Adidas and Puma bury hatchet after more than 60 years

Employees of Germany's rival sportswear companies Adidas and Puma symbollically ended the firms' 60-year-old family feud on Monday with a friendly football match to mark the UN-backed Peace One Day initiative.

The game, in which employees of both firms played in both teams, included board chairmen Herbert Hainer of Adidas and Jochen Zeitz of Puma and was played in the small northern Bavarian town of Herzogenaurach near Nuremberg, where both companies maintain their headquarters. Hainer played in attack, while Zeitz was goalkeeper.
The game was meant to bring a symbolic end to one of Germany's most infamous family feuds, which began in 1948 when a row between brothers Rudolf and Adolf Dassler split the family sportswear business, already a major supplier in the field, into two camps. Rudolf founded Puma in 1948, while Adolf, or Adi, Dassler founded Adidas in 1949. Their rivalry divided the Dasslers' home town of 23,000 people, where competing factories were built on opposite sides of the Aurach river.
Bildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: Adidas provides the soccer balls for the World Cup
Skeletons in the sportswear closet
There are plenty of rumors about the cause of the split, including the story that Rudolf had an affair with Adolf's wife Kaethe in 1940. Monday's football match was the first conciliatory gesture between the two companies, even though neither has belonged to the Dassler family for years.
Both companies have become international leaders in the sportswear field, with Puma signing a sponsorship deal with record-breaking sprinter Usain Bolt. For its part, Adidas recently extended its partnership with the football organization UEFA, providing equipment for all international football tournaments until 2017. According to the German financial newspaper Handelsblatt, Adidas is currently the second biggest sportswear manufacturer in the world behind Nike, while Puma is third.
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