Home Sport news Russia and Ukraine pull on the jersey – Liberation

Russia and Ukraine pull on the jersey – Liberation

by archysport

Euro de football 2020 (and 2021)dossier

Apostrophied by the Russian delegation about a slogan deemed “nationalist” on the Ukrainian shirt, UEFA on Thursday asked Ukraine to remove the mention, which refers to the 2014 conflict between the two countries.

The first match of this Euro is therefore a Russia-Ukraine. On the eve of the kick-off of the continental competition, UEFA – already embarrassed by the constraints linked to the health crisis – now has a diplomatic clash on its hands.

The subject of the dispute: the Ukrainian jersey, yet validated by the European football body in December. The quarrel dates back to Sunday, when Andrey Pavelko, the president of the Ukrainian Football Federation, unveiled on Facebook the “Special outfits” “Jovto-Blakytni” for the Euro, by posting photos of the blue and yellow colored jerseys of the Ukrainian flag. The tunics bear the shape of Ukraine including Crimea, annexed by Russia in 2014, and the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, controlled by pro-Russian separatists.

There are also slogans “Glory to Ukraine! Glory to the heroes! ” referring to a patriotic song that became a rallying cry for the demonstrators who had ousted Viktor Yanukovych, ex-leader supported by the Kremlin, during a popular uprising in 2014. This Maidan revolt was deemed illegal by Moscow and triggered a crisis between Russia and Ukraine, also a former Soviet republic which became independent in 1991.

After several days of diplomatic turmoil, UEFA ruled on Thursday: “After a more in-depth analysis”, the mention the reference “Is clearly political in nature” and “Must therefore be withdrawn […] in view of UEFA’s competitive matches ”, said a spokesperson for the body.

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Ukraine map with Crimea validated

The decision should soften Moscow, which raged since Monday against Ukrainian equipment. “Be sports heroes and you will have the glory, it is thus and not with nationalist slogans that you will honor the motherland., the spokeswoman for Russian diplomacy, Maria Zakharova, ranted on Telegram. Sport is not a battleground but of competition, it is not a political arena. ”

On Tuesday again, and despite Russian criticism, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky sported the new tunic on Instagram: “The new jersey of the Ukrainian football team is indeed not like the others. He can shock. It has several important symbols that unite Ukrainians ”, pleaded the head of state.

In addition to the reference to 2014, Moscow also associated these slogans with nationalist groups of the Second World War who fought the Soviets, and the Russian Football Federation had made these arguments Tuesday in a letter to UEFA.

The positioning of the European football body does not risk putting an end to the quarrel, however. In detail, UEFA is far from complying with all Russian requests: it validates, for example, the map of Ukraine appearing on the shirt which includes Crimea, which Moscow annexed in 2014, as well as the territories of the United Kingdom. ‘Is controlled by pro-Russian separatists.

“Considering that resolution 68/262 of the General Assembly of the United Nations […] recognizes the territorial borders as represented in this drawing, UEFA does not require any modification of this element ”, specifies UEFA. The organization also rejected the Russian protest against the slogan “Glory to Ukraine” on the front of the jersey, which “Can be considered as a generic and apolitical sentence”, as long as we analyze it in isolation.

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The problem came mainly from its association with the slogan “Glory to our heroes” more recently added inside the yellow and blue tunic. Slogan that had “Not taken into account” when the body approved the Ukrainian equipment, recognizes UEFA. “This specific combination of the two slogans is considered to be clearly political in nature, having historical and militarist significance”, develops UEFA by ordering the removal of the only mention “Glory to the heroes”.

Ukraine does not want to stop there

The Ukrainian Football Federation reacted on Thursday, indicating “To conduct negotiations in order to maintain this slogan on the shirt, since UEFA had previously approved the kit and all its elements, including the phrase ‘Glory to the heroes'”. The Ukrainian presidency declares that “Ukraine respects [les décisions de l’UEFA] which must be taken without any political influence and any interference ”.

According to the competition calendar, the two teams, which play in a different part of the table (Ukraine in group B and Russia in group C) cannot meet before the quarter-finals of the Euro . If this were the case, the stakes will go beyond the simple framework of football.

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