Earlier in June, Futballnews reported that the Russian government was not happy with the details on the Ukrainian new kits for the European Championship. The fact that the new kit came with the map of Ukraine showing Crimea in front of the jersey offended Russian authorities.
Also, the “Glory to the heroes” emblazoned at the back of the jersey didn’t go down well with Russia who has not been on good terms with Ukraine due to the annexation of Crimea by the Russian military.
Besides the annexation of Crimea, Ukraine believes that Russia was behind the separatist rebellion in eastern Ukraine in 2014.
Hence, Russia saw the new design as a challenge to the Russian military because “Glory to the heroes” is a slogan that is common within the Ukrainian army. On the other hand, Ukraine says the new design symbolizes the unity of the country.
To further show how important the new kit is to the people of Ukraine, the president of the country, Volodymyr Zelenskiy took a picture of himself in the jersey and shared it on social media.
In an argument put forward by Russian foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova on Thursday, June 10, the Russian government insisted that sports should not be mixed with politics.
She argued that the football pitch don’t suppose to be a theatre of war but an arena for competition.
“Sports is not a battlefield, but a place for competition; it is not a political arena but an athletic one. Become heroes of sports and you will have your glory,” she said.
On the part of UEFA, the European football governing body insisted that the map in front of the Ukrainian national team jersey should remain but the “Glory to the heroes” emblazoned at the back of the jersey should be removed.
The football governing body argued that the phrase has a militaristic connotation which ought not to be welcomed in football.
“Specific combination of the two slogans is deemed to be clearly political in nature, having historic and militaristic significance”, a UEFA statement said.
The latest reaction of UEFA on this issue is contrary to the initial reaction of the football governing body on the issue earlier in the week.
Initially, UEFA made it clear that all the jerseys of the teams participating in the European Championship including that of Ukraine have been approved for the competition.
As it stands, Ukraine has between now until Sunday, June 13 to present a new jersey for the competition before the kick-off of their opener which is against the Netherlands at 20:00 on Sunday.
Ukraine are in the Group C of the competition alongside Austria, the Netherlands, and North Macedonia.