UEFA’s European football governing body told Ukraine on Thursday that it could keep a map showing Crimea on its new national shirt, despite Russia̵
Ukraine’s set, due to its participation in the European Championship, has provoked rivalry with Moscow because it includes a contour map showing the Crimean peninsula, which Russia annexed in 2014 but remains internationally recognized as part of Ukraine.
The slogan on the back reads “Glory to Ukraine”, while inside the shirt are the words: “Glory to the heroes” – a military salute in Ukraine. Read more
UEFA said the map was not a problem, as it reflected UN-recognized borders or the phrase “Glory to Ukraine”.
But she ordered the removal of the second phrase, as “the specific combination of the two slogans is considered to be clearly political in nature, with historical and militaristic significance,” a UEFA statement said.
Ukraine said the shirt was a symbol of national unity, and President Vladimir Zelensky posted a selfie on Instagram with the T-shirt this week.
However, the Ukrainian news website Vesti.ua quoted the team as saying on Thursday that it would likely meet UEFA requirements.
“Most likely the uniform will be modified,” spokesman Nikola Vasilkov was quoted as saying.
Relations between Moscow and Kiev deteriorated sharply after the annexation of Crimea and the start of the Russian-backed separatist uprising in eastern Ukraine in 2014.
Commenting on the controversy surrounding the set, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday that sport should not be mixed with politics.
“Sport is not a battlefield, but a place for competition; it is not a political arena, but an athletic one. Become heroes of the sport and you will have your fame,” she said.
Ukraine will play its first Euro 2020 match against the Netherlands on June 13 in Amsterdam, and will also face Austria and Northern Macedonia in Group C.
Russia faced Belgium, the highest-ranked team in the world, in its new home team in St. Petersburg on June 12, before facing Denmark and Finland.
Our standards: Thomson Reuters’ principles of trust.