Greece asks to change North Macedonia's shirt emblem
Greece has officially asked North Macedonia to change the logo of its team's shirt in the European Cup 2020 football, claiming that the current version contradicts a historic treaty between the two neighboring countries in the Balkans.
The dispute erupted over the initials of the FFM (Macedonian Football Federation), which Greece says is the name of the former Balkan country before the 2018 treaty resolved a long-running diplomatic row between the Balkan neighbours.
Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias complained over the weekend in a letter to his North Macedonian counterpart Boyar Osmani that Greece "does not accept" the T-shirt's initials, Greece's official national news agency said. In his letter, Dendias requested that the initials be modified "to maintain a positive dynamic" in relations with Athens. But Osmani said the 2018 treaty, known as the Prescis Agreement, covers state-funded institutions and the Macedonian Federation is not a state institution. "As long as the federation does not receive money from the state, it is not obligated to change its name," Othmani said.
Until recently, the country was competing in international football under the name Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in an alternative to avoid the wrath of Greece, which never accepted the name "Macedonia" because it has a province of the same name.
Under the Prespis agreement, which was heavily criticized by right-wing opposition parties in both countries, Macedonia added the word "North" to its official name, ending a dispute dating back to 1991 and opening the way towards joining the European Union.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis's New Democracy party, which had staunchly opposed the agreement, has postponed putting a number of pending bilateral deals to a vote in the country's parliament.
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