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Ukraine should seek glory in sports achievements, not in nationalistic slogans — diplomat

Earlier, the UEFA obliged the Ukrainian national team to remove a politically-inciteful slogan from its uniforms ahead of the 2020 Euro Cup

MOSCOW, June 10. /TASS/. Ukraine should enjoy glory by way of sports achievements and not with nationalistic slogans, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova stated on her Telegram channel as she commented on UEFA’s decision in regard to the Ukrainian national football team’s outfits for the 2020 Euro Cup.

Earlier in the day, the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) had obliged the Ukrainian national team to remove a politically-inciteful slogan from its uniforms ahead of the 2020 Euro Cup.

"Sports is not a battlefield, but a field for athletic competition; it is not a political arena, but an arena for achievements in physical culture," Zakharova stated. "Become the sports heroes and enjoy the glory."

"This is the only way to glorify your country instead of using nationalistic slogans," the Russian diplomat added.

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 demonstrate a blurred image outlining Ukraine’s state borders, which include the territories in Donbass and also the territory of Russia’s Crimea.

The UEFA said in its statement on Thursday that following a thorough 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," according to the statement.

The Russian Football Union (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.

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’s matches. St. Petersburg was granted the right to host three group stage matches and one of the quarterfinals of the 2020 UEFA Euro Cup.

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’s 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.