The AJAX football club in Amsterdam was forced to remove the three little birds from their 2021-2022 Bob Marley-inspired third kit in order to comply with UEFA equipment regulations.
The Dutch team wore their third kit for the first time during an away game against PEC Zwolle on Saturday, and fans noticed that the jersey now omitted the three little birds that were revealed in the original designs.
According to reports, the European governing body has ruled that the jersey had illegal imagery. The original design had three birds stitched onto the back, below the collar — in red, yellow and green — as a salute to Marley’s 1977 song, Three Little Birds which appeared on the Reggae legend’s Exodus album.
“The European Football Association [UEFA] sees it as a different expression than the club logo, logo clothing sponsor or sleeve sponsor,” the club told AJAXLife. “Other expressions are not allowed.”
The away kit had sold out immediately when it was released on August 20, by Ajax Amsterdam and Adidas, in collaboration with the Bob Marley family.
Ajax’s Commercial director Menno Geelen revealed last month that they had sold four times more than any other kit after its release.
“We had already responded to the interest by purchasing much more than ever,” Geelen said. “A record number of shirts were sold in one day.”
“This shirt is sold at least four times more than any other Ajax shirt. It’s unique,” he added.
The story of Ajax, Bob Marley and Three Little Birds started in August 2008, when the team played a friendly match in Cardiff, against Cardiff City FC.
The Ajax fans were asked to remain in the stands after the game and to entertain them, the stadium DJ played several tracks, one of which was Three Little Birds and the rest was history. The fans instantly embraced the song as their own and have been singing it at every game since.