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24th Feb 2022

UEFA Europa League account deletes insensitive tweet after backlash

UEFA's Europa League account deleted a tweet following backlash from fans who criticised it as being insensitive in the context of the Ukraine conflict

Reuben Pinder

The curse of the scheduled tweet

The official UEFA Europa League Twitter account deleted a tweet on Thursday morning following backlash in the context Russia launching a full invasion of Ukraine.

Russian president Vladimir Putin committed to a full-scale military attack on Thursday morning, after giving a TV address that ordered operations in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region.

He also threatened any country who tries to intervene with consequences ‘never encountered in their history’.

The severity of the situation is obvious to anyone, except apparently the admins behind the Europa League account.

At 9:31am UK time, a tweet was posted with the text: ‘HAPPY THURSDAY EVERYONE!’ followed by a party emoji.

It is worth noting that tweets like this are probably scheduled well in advance, with the intention of promoting Europe’s second rate club competition, which is always played on Thursdays. Let’s hope it was scheduled, anyway.

However, the timing could not have been worse for such a sentiment to be expressed by an organisation under increasing pressure to make their own stand against Putin’s Russia.

The tweet received countless replies, all of which pretty much conveyed the same response: “Really? Now?”

UEFA are facing mounting pressure to change the location of the Champions League final this season, with the match due to be held in St Petersburg’s Gazprom Arena.

This obviously creates some serious moral dilemmas for European football’s governing body, for whom Gazprom are a primary sponsor.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has called on English teams to boycott the Champions League final, should they make it that far in the competition.

“I would personally not want to be playing in a football match in St Petersburg given what the Putin regime is doing,” she said.

But then again, hearing cabinet ministers tell footballers to take a political stance just months after they were told to stick to football by Priti Patel – and given the history of the Tory party – is unlikely to strike a cord with the best athletes in the country.