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Ukraine, UEFA reach compromise over controversial shirt slogan

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Ukraine has reached an agreement with UEFA, which had banned the slogan "Glory to the heroes" on the Ukrainian national team's jerseys, the head of Ukraine's football association said on Friday.

Andriy Pavelko said the agreement involved another slogan, "glory to Ukraine", being printed on the relevant area, although he did not make clear whether the original slogan would also still be visible.

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"Negotiations with UEFA on a new design for the national team of Ukraine have ended. They were extremely difficult, several times literally they went into a dead end," Pavelko wrote on Facebook. "But we still managed to reach a victorious compromise with UEFA!"

Ukraine's football association had agreed on Friday to make the phrase "Glory to the heroes" an official slogan, even though its use on the national team's shirt has been banned by UEFA.

UEFA told Ukraine on Thursday it could keep an outline map of Ukraine that includes Russia-annexed Crimea on the shirt, although this has caused outrage in Moscow, but said it must remove the phrase "Glory to the heroes" because it has military connotations.

Pavelko flew to Rome on Thursday for emergency talks with UEFA.

He said on Facebook that 45 Ukrainian soccer executives had on Friday morning approved "Glory to Ukraine" and "Glory to the heroes" as official national football symbols.

They also approved the image of Ukraine's map including Crimea as the football association's official coat of arms, he said.

The phrase "Glory to the heroes" is a military greeting in Ukraine.

Moscow has objected to the outline map because it annexed Crimea in 2014, but the peninsula remains internationally recognised as part of Ukraine.

"Football symbols of Ukraine, long recognised by all our fans and the football community in general, must be protected and immortalised in the football tradition of our country," Pavelko said.

"In all matches of our national teams! The unique national football code, which contains these attributes, unites all Ukrainians, from different regions of Ukraine and our compatriots from different countries and continents," he said.

Ukraine has said the shirt was a symbol of national unity. President Volodymyr Zelenskiy posted a selfie on Instagram this week that showed him wearing the new shirt and his office defended the slogans as "absolutely correct."

Relations between Moscow and Kiev collapsed after the annexation of Crimea and the start of a Russian-backed separatist conflict in eastern Ukraine the same year.