Ukraine is summoned to make some last-minute modifications to its Euro 2020 jersey.
UEFA has asked the Ukraine National Team to remove the “Glory to the heroes” slogan emblazoned on the kit. The request for removal comes after Russia complained about Ukraine’s jersey.
As you likely know, Ukraine and Russia have a contemptuous history. Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine in 2014 after the Ukrainian Revolution.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has long considered Crimea part of Russia and his strong-arming of the area has brought international scorn. Ukraine and others have said that Russia’s move was a violation of international law. United States secretary of state Antony Blinken issued a statement in February titled “Crimea is Ukraine” on the seventh anniversary of the Russian invasion.
Why Russia complained?
Ukraine’s jersey for Euro 2020 includes a map of the country as a silhouette. That map includes Crimea as part of the country. That inclusion drew Russia’s attention, as did the slogan on the inside of the shirt. Russia also took issue with “Glory to Ukraine” on the shirt.
Russia claimed in its complaint that Ukraine was provoking it with the jersey. Glory to the heroes is used as an official military greeting in Ukraine along with “Glory to Ukraine.”
The combination of the two phrases is why UEFA ordered Ukraine to remove one of the slogans. Per UEFA, the “specific combination of the two slogans is deemed to be clearly political in nature, having historic and militaristic significance”
FIFA and UEFA have a rule against political slogans at tournaments. UEFA said the map of Ukraine that includes Crimea was not in violation of the rule, but the combination of the two slogans was unclear to the sanctioning body at the time the shirt was approved in December.
Russia and Ukraine are not in the same Euro 2020 group and are not scheduled to play each other in the tournament unless they meet in the knockout rounds. Ukraine begins its Group C schedule on June 13 against the Netherlands.