June 18, 2021

questioned by Moscow, UEFA forces changes to Ukraine’s “political” jersey

Last-minute diplomatic imbroglio, on the eve of the Euro, around the new jersey of the Ukrainian selection unveiled at the beginning of June. The European football body imposed Thursday, June 10 to modify it, finally ruling ” Politics “ the mention the reference “Glory to the heroes” denounced by Moscow. “After a more in-depth analysis”, this slogan appearing “Inside the collar” of the Ukrainian tunic is “Clearly political in nature” and “Must therefore be withdrawn (…) in view of UEFA’s competitive matches ”, said UEFA.

On the other hand, the European body validated the map of Ukraine appearing on the jersey and including Crimea, which Moscow annexed in 2014, as well as the eastern territories controlled by pro-Russian separatists, recalling that it corresponded to the internationally recognized borders of the country.

She also rejected the Russian protest against the slogan “Glory to Ukraine”, approved by UEFA since 2018 and which “Can be considered as a generic and apolitical sentence”, as long as it is analyzed in isolation. But the problem is its ” combination “ with the slogan “Glory to the heroes” added more recently inside the jersey, and which had “Not taken into account” when the body validated the Ukrainian equipment, in December 2020, recognizes UEFA.

“Be sports heroes”

Or la double formule “Glory to Ukraine! Glory to the heroes ”, taken from a patriotic song, became a rallying cry during Maidan’s pro-Western popular uprising in 2014, which ousted Kremlin-backed president Viktor Yanukovych. Moscow also associates these slogans with nationalist groups of the Second World War which fought the Soviets, and the Russian Federation (RFS) developed these arguments Tuesday in a letter to UEFA.

In its letter, the RFS explained attracting “The attention to the use of political motives on the jersey of the Ukrainian national team which goes against the basic principles of the UEFA equipment regulations”. The RFS press service, quoted by Russian news agencies, three days before the start of the Euro, recalled: “Football is a sport that must always stay out of politics. “

“This specific combination of the two slogans is considered to be clearly political in nature, having historical and militarist significance”, develops UEFA by ordering the removal of the only mention “Glory to the heroes”. Russia said they were satisfied on Thursday that UEFA saw them 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”Russian diplomacy spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said to Ukraine, reacting on Telegram to the decision of the European football body.

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 meet before the quarter-finals of the Euro.

The World with AFP