The issue of whether football clubs have the right to include stars and other symbols on their shirts to commemorate their successes is a topic of debate. The permission to do so varies from league to league and country to country.
The most common way of rewarding teams’ achievements is through the ‘star system’, where a gold insignia is awarded for every 10 top-flight titles won. However, Bayern Munich’s Champions League win over Paris Saint-Germain in 2020 saw the German giants’ badge adorned with a decoration that appears to buck that trend.
Bayern Munich has won six European Cup/Champions League crowns and recorded 32 domestic title successes, dating back to their first in the 1931/32 season. The answer to their five stars lies in the decree made by the Deutsche Fussball Liga (DFL) in 2004. The DFL, governors of the first and second tiers of the Bundesliga system, decided that commemorative stars would be awarded to teams that have reached set landmarks of three, five, 10, and 20 league titles and so on.
However, the caveat was that it would only include Bundesliga titles won since the formation of the league system in 1963. Prior to that, the national champions had been decided by a knockout competition involving qualified teams from regional leagues. As a result, Bayern has five stars to commemorate their 32 Bundesliga successes but discounting their very first national title in 1932.
In comparison, Borussia Dortmund and Monchengladbach have two stars each to represent their five respective titles, while Werder Bremen, Hamburg, and Stuttgart have one star each to represent their titles won post-1963.
The issue of whether football clubs should be allowed to include stars and other symbols on their shirts is not just limited to Germany. Permission to do so varies from league to league and country to country.
In England, for example, the Premier League has a badge that includes a lion, a crown, and a football. The lion represents the heritage of the English game, the crown symbolizes the royal family, and the football represents the sport itself. However, there are no stars included to commemorate teams’ achievements.
In Scotland, on the other hand, the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) has a star system similar to that of Germany. However, the SPFL’s system is slightly different in that it awards one star for every ten league titles won, regardless of whether they were won before or after the formation of the league system.
In Italy, Serie A clubs are allowed to include a ‘scudetto’ on their shirts to commemorate their league title wins. The scudetto is a small shield-shaped badge that features the Italian tricolour and a gold star for every ten titles won. Juventus, for example, has three stars on their badge to represent their 36 Serie A titles.
In conclusion, the issue of whether football clubs should be allowed to include stars and other symbols on their shirts to commemorate their successes is a contentious one. Permission to do so varies from league to league and country to country, with some adopting a star system and others not. Ultimately, it is up to each individual league and club to decide whether they want to include such symbols on their shirts.