Greece has asked North Macedonia to change the jersey of its team participating in Euro football, because it violates, according to Athens, an agreement between the two countries on the use of the denomination "Macedonia" by Skopje .
The dispute relates to the initials FFM (Macedonian Football Federation) present on the tunic of North Macedonians, who do not respect the Prespes agreement, signed almost three years ago to the day, argues Athens.
In this text, which acts as a treaty between the two countries, Skopje undertook to define itself as "North Macedonia", when Athens refused to allow its neighbor to be called only Macedonia, on the grounds that one of its northern provinces , birthplace of Alexander the Great, bears the same name.
The quarrel dated from the break-up of the former Yugoslavia in 1991, which led to the creation of several states, including Macedonia.
It had been admitted to the UN in 1993 under the provisional name of FYROM (the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia), but more than 140 countries, including Russia and the United States, had recognized the country under the name of "Republic of Macedonia".
The initials on the football shirt "cannot be accepted," Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said in a letter sent last weekend to his North Macedonian counterpart Bujar Osmani, according to the news agency. Greek public press ANA.
They must be modified to "maintain a positive dynamic", he said.
The Prespes agreement, ratified on June 17, 2018, only covers state-funded institutions, which the Football Federation is not, objected Bujar Osmani.
"As long as the FFM does not receive money from the state, it has no obligation to adapt its name," he continued.
The treaty was signed on the Greek side by former Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.
The New Democracy party of the current head of government Kyriakos Mitsotakis strongly opposed it.
He has since delayed the voting of a number of bilateral agreements.
© 2021 AFP