European soccer governing body UEFA told Ukraine on Thursday it could keep a map showing Crimea on its new national shirt despite objections from Russia but must remove the phrase "Glory to the heroes" due to military connotations.
Ukraine's kit, due to feature in the European Championship, has stirred rivalries with Moscow because it includes an outline map showing the peninsula of Crimea which Russia annexed in 2014 but which remains internationally recognised as part of Ukraine.
A slogan at the back reads "Glory to Ukraine" while inside the shirt are the words: "Glory to the heroes" - a military greeting in Ukraine.
UEFA said the map was not a concern given it reflected U.N.-recognised borders, nor was the phrase "Glory to Ukraine".
But it ordered the removal of the second phrase, given the "specific combination of the two slogans is deemed to be clearly political in nature, having historic and militaristic significance", a UEFA statement said.
The decision sparked a backlash in Ukraine and roused anger in neighbouring Russia.
Ukraine had said the shirt was a symbol of national unity. President Volodymyr Zelenskiy posted a selfie on Instagram with the jersey on this week and his office defended the slogans as "absolutely correct".
"These phrases are written in the soul of every Ukrainian," it said in a statement to Reuters.
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