UEFA has asked the Ukrainian team to remove the nationalist slogan ‘Glory to the Heroes’ from its European Championship shirt because of its “clearly political nature,” according to Russian agencies on Thursday.
The jersey, which was presented on Sunday by the Ukrainian Football Association (UAF) in a video with the coach, Andrei Shevchenko, and the players, sparked protests from Russia, which it considers a “political provocation”.
The map of Ukraine, with the appendix of the Crimean peninsula, whose annexation in 2014 by Russia is not recognized by the international community, surrounds the national crest on a kit designed by the Spanish brand Joma.
In addition, it also includes two slogans that in Russia are associated with Ukrainian ultranationalists: ‘Glory to Ukraine’ and ‘Glory to Heroes’.
“This specific combination of the two slogans is clearly seen as political in nature, with historical and militaristic significance,” UEFA's press office told Interfax and TASS agencies.
The slogan ‘Glory to the Heroes’, embroidered on the inside of the jerseys, “must therefore be eliminated for UEFA matches in accordance with article 5 of the equipment regulations,” the organization said.
No problems with 'Glory to Ukraine'
UEFA has no problem with the other slogan, “Glory to Ukraine” – which appears on the outside of the shirt – because it can be considered a phrase “generic and apolitical of general national meaning and” therefore it can be used on the shirt. of the national team, “says Interfax.
The Ukrainian Football Association (AUF) tries to negotiate with UEFA to keep the motto “Glory to the Heroes”, revealed the sports portal Tribuna.com.
This information was confirmed hours later by the Association itself, whose president Andrii Pavlenko “left urgently for Rome this morning” to hold negotiations with UEFA representatives.
“The motto (Glory to the heroes) has long been a traditional greeting from our fans in different stadiums and at all Ukraine national team matches. It is a football motto and as such was approved by UEFA,” he said. the president of the AUF in a message posted on Facebook.
UEFA changes its decision
UEFA changed its decision after the press service said in a statement on Monday that the highest body in continental football had approved all shirts, including the Ukrainian.
Pavlenko drew attention to this sudden change of mind while stressing that Ukraine has always followed the rules set by soccer regulatory bodies. “We have done it now and we will do it in the future,” he said.
However, the Russian Football Union (UFR) addressed UEFA by letter on Tuesday to protest against Ukraine's jersey, considering that “football is a sport that should always be on the fringes of politics.”
“From our point of view, by accepting such kit, UEFA has set a precedent,” a UFR source told the Meduza portal.
He added that in the next international tournaments he will see how other countries use his shirt to make political statements.
The UFR maintains that the kit that the Ukrainian footballers will wear during the European Championship is “politicized”, so it must be banned by UEFA, which prohibits “political statements”.