The Ukrainian Association of Football (UAF) has approved two slogans as official soccer symbols as it looks to reverse a UEFA decision forcing the country to remove the words from the team jersey because they had a political connotation.
UAF President Andriy Pavelko wrote on Facebook that the slogans “Glory to Ukraine” and “Glory to the heroes” were unanimously approved by the UAF on June 11 ahead of the Euro 2020 championship, which begins later in the day.
Ukraine’s jersey has aroused opposition from Moscow because it includes an outline map of the country showing the Crimean Peninsula.
After Moscow took Crimea by force, Russia tried to legitimize its actions with a referendum widely derided as a sham. The vote was conducted in a heavily militarized environment and was illegal under the Ukrainian Constitution.
The result has never been recognized by most of the international community.
Still, acting upon a complaint from Russia over the jerseys, European soccer’s governing body said on June 10 that while the map was not an issue, the combination of the phrases “Glory to Ukraine” and “Glory to the heroes” was “clearly political in nature.”
“The Executive Committee approved the official football status of the slogans ‘Glory to Ukraine!’ and ‘Glory to the heroes!,’ which for many years have been a greeting by millions of our fans in our native land,” Pavelko wrote, noting that the UAF was still arguing its case with UEFA on June 11.
The committee also approved the image of Ukraine’s map including Crimea as the association’s official coat of arms, Pavelko added.
Oleksandr Hlyvynskiy, the Ukrainian national team’s press secretary, told reporters that the jerseys should stand as they are and that UAF officials were continuing to meet with UEFA to keep the uniforms as originally designed.
“They are approved by UEFA. All things have been approved by UEFA. All of the signs were approved by UEFA, and the chairman of the Ukrainian federation is now in Rome speaking with UEFA about this,” he said.
The team jerseys are for the Euro 2020 championship, which was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic and will be played from June 11 to July 11 in 11 cities including St. Petersburg, Russia, where Ukraine may play if it advances to the quarterfinals.
Ukraine’s first match is set for June 13 against the Netherlands in Amsterdam.