UEFA calls for removal of “political slogan” from Ukraine’s soccer jersey that annoys Russia

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Ruslan Malinovskiy in a Ukraine friendly match with Cyprus last Monday, wearing the new official Ukraine jersey.

UEFA has asked the Ukrainian team to remove the nationalist slogan “Glory to the Heroes” from its Euro Cup shirt due to its “clearly political” nature, as Russian agencies have pointed out this 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 considers it 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 considered of a political nature, with a historical and militaristic significance,” the UEFA press office told the 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 has indicated. 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 a general national meaning and” therefore it can be used on the shirt of the national team, ”says Interfax.

STRINGER / AFP / Getty Images

The map on the shirt of the Ukraine team.

Meanwhile, the (AUF) tries to negotiate with UEFA to maintain the slogan “Glory to the Heroes”, has revealed the sports portal Tribuna.com. This information has been confirmed hours later by the Association itself, whose president Andrii Pavlenko “urgently left 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 in every match of the Ukraine team. It is a football slogan and as such it was approved by UEFA ”, highlighted the president of the AUF in a message posted on Facebook.

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 has drawn attention to this sudden change of opinion 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.

Russian protests

However, the Russian Football Union (UFR) addressed UEFA by letter on Tuesday to protest against the Ukraine jersey, considering that “football is a sport that must 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 also 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 Ukrainian footballers will wear during the European Championship is “politicized”, so it must be banned by UEFA, which prohibits “political statements”.


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