Three Little Birds axed from Ajax's kitFriday, September 17, 2021
BY KEDIESHA PERRY
AFTER wearing their Bob Marley-inspired sports kit for the first time last Saturday, fans of Dutch football club Ajax noticed the absence of the three stitched birds on the back of the jerseys.
And, according to a statement by the club, the change was instructed by the Union of European Football Association (UEFA) for portraying illegal imagery.
“The European Football Association sees it as a different expression than the club logo, logo clothing sponsor or sleeve sponsor. Other expressions are not allowed,” said Axaj's statement.
Ajax debuted the kit last Saturday in their 2-0 victory over PEC Zwolle.
As part of paying homage to Bob Marley and his 1977 hit, Three Little Birds, the black shirt bore a red, green, and gold trim. It had three birds stitched in the back of the same colours and was manufactured by Adidas. The jersey was earmarked to be worn in the Champions League.
Three Little Birds became the unofficial anthem for Ajax fans from as early as 2008 after a friendly against Cardiff at Ninian Park in the Welsh capital. The stadium disc jockey played the song for the thousands of fans present who immediately adopted it and have sung it at every match — home and away — since.
Marley's daughter Cedella last month expressed enthusiasm at the honour being given to her father.
“I am beyond touched that Ajax has taken Three Little Birds and made it their anthem. Stories like this warm my heart and show how impactful songs like Three Little Birds can be. Soccer was everything to my father…and to use his words 'Football is freedom.' ”
Many football and Marley fans have taken to social media to express outrage at the UEFA's decision.
“Ajax jersey is the best I've ever seen. You guys need to find out the story behind this, and also find out the fight they are getting just to wear this amazing jersey,” said Kerron Bailey on Twitter.
Another Twitter user who goes by the name Danny added, “It only is a shame that the UEFA [did] not allow Ajax to play with the three little birds who sit on the three little crosses in the neck of the jersey.”
“This should have been their away kit forever,” said Ted Nelson.
Marley is known globally for songs including One Love, No Woman Nuh Cry, Redemption Song, and Get Up, Stand Up. He died in 1981 of cancer. He was 36.