German sports giant Adidas acknowledged that it had used a Moroccan zellige art design on the jersey designed for the national football team of Algeria.
Algeria first wore the top on 23 September 2022 during a friendly football match with Guinea in Oran.
Morocco, which is fiercely competitive with Algeria off and on the pitch, accused Adidas of culturally appropriating the zellige pattern typical in Moroccan ceramics.
Last month, a lawyer acting on behalf of Morocco's cultural ministry, Mourad Elajouti, called on Adidas to withdraw the design, and he gave the sportswear brand two weeks' notice.
In a statement, Adidas said, 'we would like to express our respect to the craftsmen and people of Morocco and regret the controversy surrounding this case.'
Adidas admitted that it had used the zellige pattern and apologized to Morocco but said that the tops worn by Algeria wouldn't be withdrawn.
The company said that the design was inspired by the zellige mosaics pattern and was not intended to offend anyone.
Elajouti welcomed the statement, and he said the case highlighted Morocco's need to defend and protect its cultural heritage as well as the ancestral know-how of Moroccan craftsmanship.
Meanwhile, Algerian media reported that Algeria is not happy with Adidas and might terminate the contract.
Last month, when unveiling the shirt ahead of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, Adidas said Algeria's culture and history had inspired it. The company said the top's particular inspiration was taken from the Mechoaur Palace in northwestern Algeria.
In recent years the geopolitical competition has brought Morocco-Algeria relations to a nadir.
Algiers is supporting the Polisario Front Sahrawi independence movement that is fighting Moroccan forces in Western Sahara, and Morocco has expressed support for a breakaway movement within Algeria.
Morocco has also been accused of monitoring Algerian officials' phones with the Israeli Pegasus spyware, an accusation it denied.
In August 2021, Algeria severed all ties with Morocco over alleged hostile acts.