After receiving a complaint from Russia, the governing body stated that “the glory of our hero” is “obviously political.”
UEFA, the governing body of European football, has ordered Ukraine to remove the “political” slogan from the national football uniforms for the upcoming European Cup 2020.
UEFA said on Wednesday that the message “honor to our hero” in the collar of the jersey was “obviously political.”
The slogan was widely used as a call-to-action during the 2014 Ukrainian popular uprising, which removed Kremlin-backed leader Viktor Yanukovich.
UEFA’s move was made after Russia sent a letter of complaint to the governing body regarding the yellow jersey on Tuesday. The letter also included outlines of the country’s borders, including Russia’s annexation of Crimea and separatist-controlled Donets. Krakow and Lugansk region.
UEFA stated that the map is not a problem because the United Nations General Assembly resolution “recognizes the territorial borders broadly depicted by the design.”
It also ruled that a phrase on the outside of the shirt-“The glory of Ukraine”-is acceptable because it can be regarded as a “universal and non-political phrase with universal national significance.”
It was also used by protesters against Yanukovych during the so-called Revolution in Independence Square seven years ago.
However, the management agency stated that the “specific combination” of the two slogans on the jersey “has an obvious political nature” and has historical and military significance.
It said that the slogan “Glory to our hero” must be deleted from the jersey.
“Russia: Sports is not a battlefield”
Russia immediately welcomed UEFA’s move. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said that sports should not be confused with politics.
“Sports is not a battlefield, but a place for competition; it is not a political arena, but a sports arena. Become a sports hero, and you will have your own glory,” she said.
“Do that instead of using nationalist slogans.”
Ukraine has stated that the shirt is a symbol of national unity. This week, President Volodmir Zelensky posted a selfie with a jersey on Instagram.
Tensions have continued since Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the beginning of the 2014 Russia-backed separatist rebellion in eastern Ukraine.
Ukraine will play the first match of the 2020 European Cup against the Netherlands in Amsterdam on June 13, and will face Austria and North Macedonia in Group C.
The Russian team will face the world number one Belgium team at home in St. Petersburg on June 12, and then face the Denmark and Finland teams.