UEFA has ordered Ukraine to remove the phrase “Glory to the heroes” from their Euro 2020 shirts due to its military connotations, though a map outline of the country that sparked fury across Russia is allowed to remain.
The outline on the shirt includes the region of Crimea, which was annexed by Russian forces in 2014, but remains widely recognised as part of Ukraine.
After complaints from Russia, UEFA said the map was not a concern given it reflected UN-recognised borders, but the governing body deemed “Glory to the heroes” – a military greeting in Ukraine – as political in nature and ordered its removal.
As well as the map, the shirt contains the patriotic rallying cry – “Glory to Ukraine!” on the back of the shirt while “Glory to the heroes” is printed on the inside.
The phrases gained popularity as a protest slogan during the 2014 events that saw former president and Russia ally Viktor Yanukovych ousted.
UEFA says the two phrases taken together could be deemed to be a political statement or slogan, which are banned at UEFA and FIFA tournaments, having not been fully aware of their significance when it initially approved the shirt at the end of last year.
In a statement it said: “UEFA then carefully considered the recently added slogan on the inside of the collar ‘Glory to [the] Heroes,’ which was included in the new shirt sample submitted to UEFA which was subsequently validated in December 2020.
“At that time, however, the significance created by the combination of the two slogans was not considered. Following further analysis, this specific combination of the two slogans is deemed to be clearly political in nature, having historic and militaristic significance.
“This specific slogan on the inside of the shirt must therefore be removed for use in UEFA competition matches, in accordance with Article 5 of the UEFA Equipment Regulations.”
Ukraine and Russia were barred from being drawn in the same group for Euro 2020 when the draw was made owing to their international relations, though they could potentially meet in the knockout rounds. Ukraine could also face a quarter-final in St Petersburg should they progress that far
Andriy Shevchenko’s side begin their Group C campaign against the Netherlands on June 13 in Amsterdam, before games against Austria and North Macedonia.
Russia, meanwhile, face world number one Belgium in St Petersburg on June 12, with Denmark and Finland the other teams in Group B.
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