NYON, Switzerland — Ajax must change its popular Bob Marley-themed shirts in Champions League games because the three little birds motif breaks equipment rules, UEFA said Tuesday.
The Netherlands champion received wide praise and a rush of sales in the offseason for launching a black uniform with small red, yellow and green birds on the back of the shirt collar.
It's a tribute to Ajax fans singing Marley's "Three Little Birds" at games as their anthem.
UEFA said the club was told after submitting the design for approval one year ago it would not be approved to wear in games.
"The three birds being a tribute to Bob Marley's song do not represent a team identification of Ajax as set out in Article 13 of the equipment regulations," UEFA said in a statement, adding the manufacturer "was given the options about how the design could be adapted."
Ajax decided its players will wear game shirts without the motif while selling a version to fans with the birds.
The team's home uniform is iconic thick red and white vertical stripes.
Ajax's Champions League campaign starts Wednesday at Sporting Lisbon. The group also includes Borussia Dortmund and Beşiktaş.
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