UEFA, the European soccer’s governing body, has rejected Greece’s request to change the jerseys of the team from North Macedonia at Euro 2020 after the Greeks argued that the current shirt’s initials violated a historic treaty between the Balkan neighbors.
Greece said the initials FFM (Football Federation of Macedonia) refer to the Balkan country’s name before the treaty in 2018 resolved a long-standing diplomatic row.
Greece had refused to accept the name Macedonia for the former Yugoslav republic because it has a province of the same name.
UEFA confirmed it had received a letter from the Greek government requesting that the shirt be modified, according to AFP.
But said it had rejected the request because “UEFA uses the name Football Federation of North Macedonia in all its official communication and has adapted the relevant terminology accordingly, including in the UEFA statutes and with regard to UEFA Euro 2020.”
Until recently, North Macedonia competed under the name Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) to avoid ire from Greece.
Greece’s objection to the initials on the jersey comes after UEFA ordered Ukraine to remove a slogan from its shirt after it angered Russia.
Russia was furious at the slogan “Glory to the heroes” because the words became a rallying cry for pro-Western protesters who ousted a Kremlin-backed leader in 2014. It also objected to an outline of Ukraine on the jersey that includes the Crimean Peninsula, which is legally part of Ukraine but was forcibly seized by Russia in 2014.
UEFA ruled that the slogan was “political” but agreed a compromise with the Ukrainian soccer association that involved covering the slogan with a smaller version of the map of Ukraine.
Euro 2020, the European soccer championship, is being played a year late after the coronavirus pandemic caused it to be postponed.
Based on reporting by AFP