The controversial new jersey of the Ukrainian football team will ultimately have to be changed at the behest of UEFA. The Russian Football Federation alerted the European body about “political reasons” prohibited by the regulation.
Called upon by Russian protests, UEFA imposed on June 10 a modification of Ukraine’s jersey on the eve of the opening of the Euro football tournament, finally deeming the denounced “Glory to our heroes” mention “political”. by Moscow.
“After further analysis” this slogan is “clearly of a political nature” and “should therefore be withdrawn […] in view of UEFA’s competitive matches, ”the body told AFP.
Unveiled on June 6, the Ukrainian national team’s jerseys featured the map of Ukraine including Crimea – attached to Russia in 2014 following a referendum – as well as the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk republics controlled by the rebels from eastern Ukraine who refuse to recognize the authorities resulting from the Maidan coup. Also included were the slogans “Glory to Ukraine! Glory to the Heroes! ”, Referring to a patriotic song that became a rallying cry for the demonstrators who had ousted former President Viktor Yanukovych during the coup. Moscow did not fail to recall that these slogans were also used by those who cooperated with the Nazis during World War II.
In its decision, however, UEFA validated the map of Ukraine appearing on the jersey and including Crimea as well as the eastern territories, considering that it corresponded to “the country’s internationally recognized borders”.
UEFA rejects protest over ‘Glory to Ukraine’ slogan
She also rejected the protest against the slogan “Glory to Ukraine”, approved by UEFA since 2018 and which “can be considered a generic and apolitical phrase”, if it is analyzed in isolation.
But 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.
“This specific combination of the two slogans is considered to be clearly of a political nature, having historical and militarist significance”, develops UEFA by ordering the removal of the only mention “” Glory to the heroes “.
Russia immediately declared themselves satisfied that UEFA gave it partially right.
“Sport is not a battlefield but a competition field. It is not a political arena but an arena for sports performances. Be sports heroes and you will have the glory: it is thus and not with nationalist slogans that you will honor the motherland ”, thus commented the spokeswoman of the Russian diplomacy, Maria Zakharova, reacting on Telegram to the decision of the European football body.
The US Embassy in Kiev had meanwhile given its support for the new jersey. in a very enthusiastic tweet : “We love this new look. Glory to Ukraine! # LaCriméeestukrainienne ”.
As a reminder, the Russian football federation had written a letter to UEFA denouncing the political nature of the shirt, and therefore its non-compliance with UEFA regulations. The RFS had in particular put forward “the use of political motives on the jersey of the Ukrainian selection, [allant] against the basic principles of the UEFA Kit Regulations ”.