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Ukraine and UEFA 'reach compromise' over controversial jerseys

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By Euronews with AP
Photo from President of Ukrainian Association of Football Andrii Pavel Pavelko via Facebook, shows the Ukrainian national football team jersey June 7, 2021
Photo from President of Ukrainian Association of Football Andrii Pavel Pavelko via Facebook, shows the Ukrainian national football team jersey June 7, 2021   -   Copyright  President of Ukrainian Association of Football Andrii Pavel Pavelko's Facebook account via AP
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The Ukrainian football federation said on Friday that it had reached "a compromise" with UEFA on its national team jerseys, which have a slogan deemed "political" by the European body, against the backdrop of the Russo-Ukrainian conflict.

"The negotiations" were "extremely difficult and ended in deadlock on several occasions", but "we still managed to reach a compromise with UEFA," wrote Andriy Pavelko, the head of Ukraine's Football Association (UAF) on Facebook.

The slogan "Glory to the Heroes" will be part of a new element added to the interior of the jersey, he said, hinting that the phrase will be removed from its original placement at the collar.

UEFA said slogans were political in nature

European football's governing body said in a statement to Euronews on Thursday "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."

'Glory to Our Heroes' was due to be displayed on the inside of the collar of the shirts worn by Ukraine players at the tournament.

The words were used in Ukraine during World War I as a rallying cry against Soviet rule and were popularised during the uprising that led to the ousting of Ukraine's former pro-Kremlin president in 2014.

Ukrainian officials say the words are now commonly used when greeting other citizens.

"This slogan has long been a traditional greeting for our fans at all stadiums and at all matches of the national team of Ukraine," said Andriy Pavelko, the head of Ukraine's Football Association (UAF).

"The UAF has always respected international sports principles and followed the rules that the highest football authorities are governed in their work."