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Greece Objects to North Macedonia Kit in UEFA Euro 2020

Greece North Macedonia
North Macedonia national football team. Credit: Football Federation of Macedonia

Greece sent a letter of complaint to President of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) Aleksander Ceferin over the name being used by the North Macedonia team.

Greek Sports Minister Lefteris Avgenakis signed the letter of Greece’s objection to the FFM (Football Federation of Macedonia) badge on the team’s jersey that excludes the word “North” from the Balkan country’s name.

According to he name agreement signed between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) in 2018, the country’s name is now Republic of North Macedonia.

Based on the customary use of abbreviations for an internationally recognized name, the Balkan country should include a “N” in the abbreviation.

The Greek minister said that FFM is not a proper abbreviation of North Macedonia, as agreed by both sides in the 2018 Prespa accord.

In the letter, Avgenakis also asks UEFA to look into the name of the country’s soccer association, Football Federation of Macedonia, saying that it contravenes the name deal.

This is the first time Greece’s neighbor is taking part in the final phase of the major event. Northern Macedonia completes the 3rd group of the UEFA Euro 2020 along with the Netherlands, Ukraine and Austria. On Sunday it faces Austria.

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias has also sent a similar letter to his counterpart in North Macedonia, Bujar Osmani.

Hellenic Football Federation complaint

The Hellenic Football Federation (EPO) also complained with the North Macedonia move to take part in the tournament using the old name of the North Macedonia’s football federation.

“We would like to inform you that on the occasion of a post by the President of the Football Federation of North Macedonia Muamed Seidini on his personal social media account, the Hellenic Football Federation points out the following:

It is sad, even outrageous, that issues that have been settled by international conventions arise out of nowhere, on the occasion of the start of EURO 2020 and the participation of Northern Macedonia in the event.

The International Olympic Committee and all the international sports confederations, including the football confederations, have recognized North Macedonia as their member.

Any other arbitrary self-designation is outside the universally applicable regulatory framework and therefore unrealistic.”

FYROM changes name to Republic of North Macedonia

On February, 2019, the government in Skopje announced that according to the Prespa Agreement, the name of the country is changing to Republic of North Macedonia, effective on February 12.

Athens formally notified Skopje that the Hellenic Parliament has completed the procedures for the ratification of the Agreement and the NATO accession protocol as well.

Skopje also announced that the four amendments to the constitution passed by the country’s parliament on January 11, came into effect.

Th Greece and North Macedonia decisions have been published in the Greek Government Gazette, which for all practical purposes changed the name of the neighbouring country to “Republic of North Macedonia.”

A series of practical adjustments – ranging from new road signs to updated passports and currency — would be made gradually.

Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said his country would press ahead with all the changes needed to fulfill its end of the historic deal he reached with then Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras.

However, there have been several instances where the North Macedonia government has failed to adhere to the terms of the Prespa Treaty since its signing.

 

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