UEFA Obliges Ukraine to Remove Politically Inciteful Slogan from Its Football Uniforms

Image: Ukraine's Roman Yaremchuk wears newly unveiled national team jersey emblazoned with a map of Ukraine that includes Crimea during an international friendly match against Cyprus in Kharkiv, Ukraine, June 7, 2021 REUTERS/Gleb Garanich/File Photo

(Moscow) TASS - “The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) has obliged the Ukrainian national team to remove a politically inciteful slogan from its uniforms ahead of the 2020 Euro Cup,” the UEFA press office announced to TASS on Thursday. 


The Ukrainian national team’s uniforms for the upcoming championship featured slogans chanted by Ukrainian nationalists, namely: ‘Glory to Ukraine! Glory to the heroes!’ The uniforms also demonstrated a blurred image outlining Ukraine’s state borders, which include the territories in Donbas and also the territory of Crimea. 


“Following concerns raised by the Russian Football Union [RFU], UEFA today reconfirmed its position regarding the design element on the front of the Ukraine national team shirt,” the statement from UEFA reads. “Considering that the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 68/262 which was widely approved by the member states, recognizes the territorial borders as broadly depicted by the design, UEFA does not require any modifications of this design element as it meets the criteria laid out in article 12 of the UEFA Equipment Regulations.” 


“UEFA also confirmed that the slogan on the outside of the shirt ‘Glory to Ukraine’ was approved in 2018 and reiterated that UEFA considers this to be in accordance with articles 13 and 19 of the UEFA Equipment Regulations,” according to UEFA. 


“This slogan on its own may be considered as a generic and non-political phrase of general national significance and therefore may be used on the national team shirt.” 


However, UEFA stated that it “carefully considered the recently added slogan on the inside of the collar ‘Glory to our 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,” the statement reads. “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,” the European governing football body added. 


The RFU announced on Tuesday that it filed an official letter with the Union of European Football Associations requesting the European football body study the allegedly politically motivated slogan on the Ukrainian national team’s uniforms ahead of the 2020 UEFA Euro Cup. 


In its letter to the UEFA, the RFU asked the organization to “focus on the use of political slogans displayed on the uniforms of the Ukrainian national team. The slogans displayed contradict the basic principles of UEFA’s regulations regarding the prohibition of all political manifestations.” 


On Tuesday, the world governing football body, FIFA, announced to TASS that it was up to the Union of European Football Associations to decide on national teams’ design of uniforms for the 2020 UEFA Euro Cup. 


Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, commenting on Thursday on the UEFA decision in regard to uniforms of the Ukrainian national team for the 2020 UEFA Euro Cup that “This is UEFA’s prerogative. Sports must be beyond politics.” 


2020 UEFA Euro Cup 

Russia is set to embark on its journey for the UEFA Euro Cup by playing group stage matches against the national teams of Belgium (home on June 12), Finland (home on June 16) and Denmark (away on June 21). 


On March 17, 2020, UEFA announced it was postponing the 2020 UEFA Euro Cup for exactly one year as a preventive measure against the ongoing global spread of the novel coronavirus. 


The championship was rescheduled to be held between June 11, and July 11, 2021, and Russia’s second-largest city of St. Petersburg was picked. It was among the 12 cities initially proposed in Europe to host the European championship matches. St. Petersburg was granted the right to host three group stage matches and one of the 2020 UEFA Euro Cup quarterfinals. 


However, on April 23, St. Petersburg was granted the right to host three additional matches of the UEFA Euro Cup after Ireland’s Dublin and Spain’s Bilbao pulled out of the organization of the European football championship games, citing anti-COVID-19 measures. 


Following the pullout of Bilbao and Dublin from the list of the championship’s hosting cities, the rescheduled 2020 UEFA Euro Cup is now set to be staged in 11 cities, namely in London, England; Munich, Germany; Rome, Italy; Baku, Azerbaijan; St. Petersburg, Russia; Bucharest, Romania; Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Budapest, Hungary; Glasgow, Scotland; Copenhagen, Denmark; and Seville, Spain.