Questioned by Russia about the very political jersey of Ukraine for the Euro, UEFA asked the Ukrainian Federation to remove the words “Glory to our heroes” inside the collar. The map with Crimea can however be kept.
Russia won. In part, at least. Called upon by protests from Moscow, UEFA imposed on Thursday a modification of Ukraine’s jersey on the eve of the opening of the Euro, finally deeming “political” the mention “Glory to our heroes” denounced by the Russians.
“After further analysis”, this slogan appearing “inside the collar” of the Ukrainian tunic is “clearly of a political nature” and “must therefore be removed (…) in view of the competitive matches of the UEFA, “the body told AFP.
Crimea can stay on the jersey
UEFA, on the other hand, validated the map of Ukraine appearing on the jersey and including Crimea, which Moscow annexed in 2014, as well as eastern territories controlled by pro-Russian separatists, recalling that it corresponded to the borders. internationally recognized of the country.
She also rejected the Russian protest against the slogan “Glory to Ukraine”, endorsed by UEFA since 2018 and which “can be considered a generic and apolitical phrase”, if it is analyzed in isolation.
The problem comes from its “combination” with the slogan “Glory to our heroes” added more recently inside the jersey, and which had “not been taken into account” when the body validated the Ukrainian equipment in December 2020, recognizes UEFA.
However, the double formula “Glory to Ukraine! Glory to the Heroes”, taken from a patriotic song, had become a rallying cry during the pro-Western popular uprising of Maidan in 2014, which ousted a president supported by the Kremlin, Viktor Yanukovych.
No duel possible before the quarters
Moscow also associates these slogans with nationalist groups of the Second World War which fought the Soviets, and the Russian Football Federation had developed these arguments Tuesday in a letter to UEFA. “This specific combination of the two slogans is considered to be clearly political in nature, with historical and militarist significance,” UEFA justifies by ordering the removal of the only mention “Glory to the heroes”.
Russia said Thursday it was satisfied that UEFA gave it partially right. “Be sports heroes and you will have the glory, it is thus and not with nationalist slogans that you will honor the motherland”, estimated at the address of Ukraine the spokeswoman of the Russian diplomacy Maria Zakharova .
Ukraine are in Group C and will start their competition on Sunday against the Netherlands, before facing North Macedonia and then Austria. Russia are in Group B, with Belgium, which they face on Saturday, Finland and Denmark. Ukraine and Russia cannot face each other before the quarter-finals of the Euro.