Cologne FC defends new kit’s mosque design

Football club publicly disowns fan who said he could not identify with the new kit, which includes an image of Cologne Central Mosque

COLOGNE, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 29: The central mosque of DITIB, the Turkish Islamic union that runs Turkish mosques prior the visit of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on September 29, 2018 in Cologne, Germany. Erdogan is due to speak at the mosque today on the final day of a three-day visit to Germany. Erdogan also visited Berlin, where at a state banquet given in his honor he accused Germany of harboring thousands of terrorists. (Photo by Carsten Koall/Getty Images)
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The German Bundesliga club Cologne has defended its new kit after a fan deserted the team because of the mosque design woven into the fabric.

The club, sometimes called Koln, publicly disowned the fan who said he could not identify with the new kit because the city’s Central Mosque had been included in the design.

The fan suggested Cologne FC was now a religious organisation and that the team would soon be playing in pink kits.

For context, the city's cathedral has been on the club badge since it was founded in 1948.

Now the club has tweeted about the disgruntled fan and mocked up a pink kit to show him or her what it would look like.

Twelve per cent of the population of Cologne, in western Germany, is Muslim and the club has said that adding the mosque to the shirt was intended to be as “a sign of inclusivity”.

"The mosque is symbolic of the large Turkish community in Cologne, where there are many diehard FC fans," the club's managing director, Alexander Wehrle, told Bild. "And it has become an unmistakable part of the Cologne skyline."

Cologne Central Mosque was officially opened in 2018 by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The new kit design also includes the cathedral, the Rhine River and other local landmarks in the weave.

Since the club’s founding more than 70 years ago through the merger of two teams, the cathedral has been included in the club’s badge.

The goat design was added in 1973, a reference to an incident in 1950 when a travelling circus visited Cologne and gave the club a goat. Koln made the goat its mascot, earning the club the nickname, ‘The Billy Goats’.