The governing body says that “Glory to our Heroes” is “clearly of a political nature” following a complaint from Russia.
UEFA, the government of European football, has ordered Ukraine to remove a “political” slogan from its national football kit for the next Euro 2020 tournament.
The message “Glory to our Heroes” on the neck of the shirt was “of a clearly political nature”, UEFA said on Wednesday.
The slogan was widely used as a rallying cry during a 2014 popular uprising in Ukraine that ousted the Kremlin-backed leader Viktor Yanukovich.
UEFA’s move comes after Russia sent a letter of complaint to the governing body on the yellow jersey on Tuesday, which also contains a diagram of the country’s borders that includes Crimea annexed to Russia and the regions controlled by the separatists of Donetsk and Luhansk.
UEFA said the charter was not a problem because a UN General Assembly resolution “recognizes territorial boundaries as largely represented by the concept”.
He also ruled that a phrase presented on the outside of the shirt – “Glory to Ukraine” – was acceptable as such, alone, can be considered as a “generic and non-political phrase of general national significance”.
This song was also used by protesters who rallied against Yanukovich during the so-called Maidan revolution seven years ago.
However, the governing body said the “specific combination” of the two slogans presented on the jersey was “clearly of a political nature” and had historical and militaristic significance.
He said the slogan “Glory to our Heroes” featured on the jersey should therefore be removed.
‘Russia: sport is not a battlefield’
Russia immediately welcomed UEFA’s move, with Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova saying the sport should not be mixed with politics.
“Sport is not a battlefield, but a place for competition; it is not a political arena but athletic. Become a hero of the sport and you will have your glory, ”he said.
“Do it this way and not with nationalist slogans.”
Ukraine had said the jersey was a symbol of national unity, and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy posted a selfie on Instagram with this week’s kit.
Tensions have persisted since Russia annexed Crimea and the start of a Russian-backed separatist rebellion in eastern Ukraine in 2014.
Ukraine will play its Euro 2020 opening match against the Netherlands on June 13 in Amsterdam and also face Austria and Northern Macedonia in Group C.
Russia will face Belgium, the world’s top team, in their opener on the ground in St. Petersburg on June 12, before facing Denmark and Finland.