UPDATE 3-Soccer-Ukraine will cover banned slogan on jersey in 'compromise' with UEFA

* Ukraine's new kit has caused outrage in Russia

* UEFA told Ukraine not to use phrase "Glory to the heroes"

* US, British embassies post pictures of staff wearing jersey (Recasts with Ukraine announcement)

KYIV, June 11 (Reuters) - Ukraine has agreed to modify the design of its national soccer team kit to cover up the slogan "glory to the heroes" after it was banned by UEFA, the head of the Ukrainian soccer association said on Friday.

The unveiling of Ukraine's team jersey for this month's Euros tournament sparked outrage in Russia, which objected to an outline map of Ukraine that includes Russia-annexed Crimea.

European soccer's governing body UEFA told Ukraine on Thursday it could keep the outline map on the front of the shirt. But it said it must remove the phrase "Glory to the heroes" from inside the shirt because, as a military greeting, it has "historical and military" connotations.

Andriy Pavelko, President of the Football Association of Ukraine, said Ukraine could sell jerseys to fans with the slogan "glory to the heroes" but for the team would add another map and the slogan "glory to Ukraine" on the area of the banned slogan.

"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 after flying to Rome for talks. "But we still managed to reach a victorious compromise with UEFA!"

He told the Ukraine 24 TV channel that the new design would completely cover the banned slogan.

A UEFA spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The U.S. and British embassies in Kyiv showed solidarity with Ukraine over the new shirt by wearing it in photographs posted on Facebook.

"Can't wait for kickoff on Sunday - don't know who will win, but the Ukrainian team will look great!" a caption read below a photograph of the employees in the new kit that was posted on the U.S. embassy's Facebook page.

Ukraine play the Netherlands in their first European Championship match on Sunday.

The government has said the shirt is a symbol of national unity.

"We love the national football team's new kit and thought that this was a great way to express our support," U.S. Chargé d'Affaires Kristina Kvien said in a statement sent to Reuters. "We wear them (the kits) with pride in solidarity with Ukraine's fight for its sovereignty and territorial integrity."

Russian President Vladimir Putin has been dismissive of the fuss over the kit but some Russian officials have objected to the outline map because Russia annexed Crimea in 2014. The region is, however, internationally recognized as part of Ukraine.

Relations between Moscow and Kyiv collapsed after the annexation of Crimea and the start of a Russian-backed separatist conflict in eastern Ukraine the same year. (Writing by Pavel Polityuk and Matthias Williams; Additional reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber in St Petersburg; Editing by Kim Coghill, Timothy Heritage and Nick Macfie)

06/11/2021 18:20

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