BAKU: UEFA to investigate NK champonship following Azeri protest

UEFA to investigate Karabakh soccer championship following Azeri protest

Ekho, Baku
5 Aug 04

The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) intends to clarify
the situation with the football championship in the so-called Nagornyy
Karabakh Republic which started on 1 August. This was said in a letter
sent by Giovanni Infantino, the director of the UEFA legal committee,
to the secretary-general of the Armenian football association, Armen
Minasyan. The copy of the letter was sent to Fuad Asadov, the
secretary-general of the Association of Football Federations of
Azerbaijan [AFFA].

“We draw your attention (addressing Armen Minasyan – author’s note) to
a fax message from AFFA which informed us about an illegal football
championship being held in the territory of the unrecognized Nagornyy
Karabakh Republic in which an Armenian club from the town of Goris is
also taking part. Prior to carrying out an investigation, we would
like you to familiarize yourself with a copy of the aforesaid fax
message from AFFA and give an official explanation of the issue on
behalf of the Armenian football association,” [the letter said].

Ekho has already reported that the first open football championship
started in Nagornyy Karabakh on 1 August.

[Passage omitted: reported details of the championship in Karabakh]

Azerbaijan produced an immediate response to the mentioned sporting
event. Both AFFA and the Ministry of Sports, Youth and Tourism
expressed their extreme indignation at the case. AFFA notified UEFA
and FIFA about the case while the Sports Ministry informed the Foreign

“In my letter to UEFA and FIFA, I said that in line with our charter,
football championships in the territory of our country can be held
only under the banner of AFFA and with its consent. The championship
held by separatists in Nagornyy Karabakh is illegal. What is more, a
team from another state, namely the team of the Armenian town of
Goris, is taking part in the championship. I asked them to look into
the situation and apply the necessary sanctions against the Armenian
football association,” Asadov said.

To begin with, UEFA officials want to learn what is at the bottom of
it, he said. When the situation is investigated, they will demand that
the championship be prohibited, Asadov said.

[Passage omitted: FIFA promised to announce its decision regarding the
championship on 6 August]