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Sports Firms Say 'Auf Wiedersehen' To Feud


Dokko
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Sports Firms Say 'Auf Wiedersehen' To Feud

 

German sportswear giants Adidas and Puma are to end a feud started 60 years ago by their founding brothers - with a game of football.

 

Adi and Rudolf Dassler started making sports shoes together in their mother's wash-room in the 1920s but fell out during World War II.

 

They were never reconciled and the split was so bitter it even divided the Bavarian town of Herzogenaurach, near Nuremberg, where the brothers founded firms on either side of the Aurach river in 1948.

 

Adi founded Adidas while Rudolph founded Puma and residents were loyal to either one or the other of the only major local employers.

 

But on September 21 employees of both companies will set aside their differences and play a football match to support the annual non-violence Peace One Day organisation.

 

Hubert Hainer, chairman of Adidas said: "I am looking very much forward to our Adidas and Puma football match and I hope that our joint initiative helps to raise further awareness for Peace One Day around the world."

 

Before the war the Dassler brothers ran a successful sports shoe manufacturers, making shoes worn by top athletes of the day including Jesse Owens at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

 

No-one is sure of the origins of the feud but many believe it stemmed from a wartime air raid on Herzogenaurach as the brothers and their wives shared a shelter.

 

Adi made insulting remarks about the bombers but which Rudolph took at being aimed at him and his wife. Their relationship never recovered and they eventually split, forming their own companies.

 

For the rest of their lives the brothers were bitter business rivals, each trying to outdo the other.

 

Both claim to have invented the screw-in stud football boot for the 1954 World Cup, and signed up big name stars such as Pele and Muhammed Ali to promote their brands.

 

Rudolph died in 1974 and Adi four years later.

 

Such was the loyalty of the residents of Herzogenaurach to the businesses that they refused to mix with anyone who worked for the rival firm.

 

Neither group is now controlled by the descendants of its founding families, although Rudolf's grandson Frank Dassler raised some eyebrows in the town by working for both Puma and Adidas.

 

Since 2007, Puma has been majority-owned by PPR, the French luxury goods maker that also owns Gucci.

 

Adidas Group is much more widely-owned, with no individual shareholder having more than 5%.

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Sports Firms Say 'Auf Wiedersehen' To Feud

 

German sportswear giants Adidas and Puma are to end a feud started 60 years ago by their founding brothers - with a game of football.

 

Adi and Rudolf Dassler started making sports shoes together in their mother's wash-room in the 1920s but fell out during World War II.

 

That was very interesting - thanks, T.T. !

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