LONDON - English soccer team Manchester United apologized to fans after sending them a newsletter with a design resembling a swastika alongside the words “New Order,” a slogan used by Hitler's Nazi party.
The club headed by Tampa Bay Buccaneers owner Malcolm Glazer, said Sunday the design and choice of words in the email newsletter "United Uncovered" was "completely inappropriate" and that "internal action" was being taken.
"It has been pointed out that the graphic had design similarities to a swastika which, combined with other connotations of the phrase 'new order', has caused offence which was entirely unintended," they said in a statement Sunday. “For this, United Uncovered unreservedly apologizes.”
They added the "New Order" headline was a reference to the Manchester band of the same name who were popular in the 1980s and early 1990s. One of their hits, "Blue Monday" remains the best selling 12 inch single of all time.
The swastika has been used by many cultures, but is most well known as the symbol of Nazi Germany. The European New Order was the political model Adolf Hitler wanted to impose after World War II.
The design and headline caused outrage among some fans, with many questioning how it had not been spotted.
One Twitter user, David Roberts, said: “As an advertising art director I've done 1000s of newsletters for major brands. How does that get through sign off?”
Another, Lynette Mapp, added: “Manchester United 'swastika' apology - My support for Man Utd is over! Totally unacceptable #no excuses.”
Manchester United Head of Media David Sternberg was quick to respond on Twitter. He said: “The creative is completely inappropriate; we apologize unreservedly and are taking appropriate internal action.”
The apology comes at a difficult time for Manchester United, which is one of the richest and most popular teams in the world. The team has been struggling to adapt under the management of David Moyes after the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson at the end of last season.
The team known as the "Red Devils" currently lies in 8th place in the English Premier League, having lost three of their nine games this season.