Azerbaijan Organisers Ban Russian Journalist From Euro 2020

Photo: UEFA


A Russian journalist has been banned from covering football’s European Championship by Azerbaijan’s organising committee over his visits to the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh, sparking outrage in Moscow on Wednesday.

Nobel Arustamyan, a journalist with Armenian ancestry working for the Russian Match TV station, said Tuesday that Azerbaijan’s organising committee has denied him accreditation for Euro 2020 that is being organised in 11 European cities including the Azerbaijani capital, Baku.

The approval of the 11 national organising committees is necessary for journalists to be accredited.

The oil-rich country on the Caspian Sea is set to host three group games in June — Wales v Switzerland, Turkey v Wales, Switzerland v Turkey — and a quarter-final in July.

The vice president of the Azerbaijani Football Federation, Elkhan Mammadov, confirmed his country was behind the refusal.

“This person has repeatedly visited the occupied lands of Azerbaijan for many years and during these visits did not receive permission from the relevant structures of Azerbaijan,” Mammadov told journalists.

READ ALSO: European Commission Opens Case Against Germany Over Primacy Of EU Law

“He violated the laws of our country, showing disrespect for the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.”

Azerbaijan’s Armenian-populated breakaway region of Karabakh was last year at the centre of a six-week war between the arch-foe neighbours.

The war has claimed the lives of some 6,000 people and ended in November with a Russian-brokered ceasefire that saw Armenia cede swathes of territories it had controlled for decades.

Azerbaijan’s move to block Arustamyan’s accreditation sparked outrage among Russian journalists and elicited a protest from his channel.

“The refusal of a regional federation to approve the name of our commentator is a violation of the spirit of the international sports movement,” the general producer of Match TV, Tina Kandelaki, wrote on her Telegram channel.

Sports journalist Vasili Utkin denounced “a bestial injustice.”

Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the ministry had “worked all night” with UEFA to ensure Aroustamyan is allowed “to exercise his professional activities.”

“I believe a solution will be found,” she added.

Azerbaijani laws prohibit the entry into its territory of those who have visited Nagorno-Karabakh without permission from Baku.

In 2019, Armenian midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan missed, for security reasons, the Europa League final between his then team Arsenal and Chelsea that was played in Baku.


Villagers Burn Karabakh Houses Ahead Of Azerbaijan Takeover

The smoke from an explosion rises above the houses after a shelling during the ongoing military conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh, in the disputed province’s capital of Stepanakert on November 6, 2020. Karen MINASYAN / AFP


Villagers in Nagorno-Karabakh set their houses on fire Saturday before fleeing to Armenia ahead of a weekend deadline that will see parts of the territory handed over to Azerbaijan as part of a peace agreement.

Residents of the Kalbajar district in Azerbaijan that was controlled by Armenian separatists for decades began a mass exodus this week after it was announced Azerbaijan would regain control on Sunday.

Fighting between the separatists backed by Armenian troops and the Azerbaijan army erupted in late September and raged for six weeks, leaving more than 1,400 dead and forcing thousands to flee their homes.

In the village of Charektar, on the border with the neighbouring district of Martakert which is to remain under Armenian control, at least six houses were on fire Saturday morning with thick plumes of gray smoke rising over the valley, an AFP journalist saw.

“This is my house, I can’t leave it to the Turks,” as Azerbaijanis are often called by Armenians, said one resident as he threw burning wooden planks and rags soaked in gasoline into a completely empty house.

“Everybody is going to burn down their house today… We were given until midnight to leave,” he said.

On Friday at least 10 houses were burned in and around Charektar.

The ex-Soviet rivals agreed to end hostilities earlier this week after previous efforts by Russia, France and the United States to get a ceasefire fell through.

A key part of the peace deal includes Armenia’s return of Kalbajar, as well as the Aghdam district by November 20 and the Lachin district by December 1, which have been held by Armenians since a devastating war in the 1990s.

Russian peacekeepers began deploying to Nagorno-Karabakh on Wednesday as part of the terms of the accord and took control of a key transport artery connecting Armenia to the disputed province.

Russian military officials said the mission consisting of nearly 2,000 troops would put in place 16 observation posts in mountainous Nagorno-Karabakh and along the Lachin corridor.

Merkel Urges ‘Immediate Ceasefire’ In Karabakh Fighting

German Chancellor Angela Merkel gives a press conference on March 11, 2020 in Berlin to comment on the situation of the spread of the novel coronavirus in the country. AFP


German Chancellor Angela Merkel has urged an immediate end to the fighting in the region of Nagorny Karabakh in phone calls with the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan, her spokesman said Tuesday.

At least 95 people have been killed in the clashes that have been raging since the weekend, including 11 civilians, according to the latest available tallies.

“The chancellor urgently called for an immediate ceasefire and a return to the negotiating table,” Steffen Seibert said.

Merkel spoke with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on Monday and with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev on Tuesday, he added.

The so-called Minsk Group of mediators, led by France, Russia and the United States, “offers an appropriate forum” for dialogue, Merkel said in the calls.

The UN Security Council is due to hold emergency talks Tuesday behind closed doors on Nagorny Karabakh, diplomats said.

Yerevan and Baku have been locked in a territorial dispute over the ethnic Armenian region of Nagorny Karabakh for decades, with deadly fighting flaring up last July and in 2016.

The region declared independence from Azerbaijan after a war in the early 1990s that claimed 30,000 lives.

It is not recognised by any country — including Armenia — and is still considered part of Azerbaijan by the international community.


Adekuruoye Leads Team To Victory In Indian Pro Wrestling League

AdekuruoyeCommonwealth gold medalist, Odunayo Adekuruoye, has inspired her team, Mumbai Garuda to beat Haryana Hammers 7-2, to clinch the inaugural Indian Pro Wrestling League title.

In her final fight, Adekuruoye edged out Tatyana Kit 9-0 in a one-sided contest in women’s 53kg.

The 21-year-old Nigerian did not give any chance to Tatyana as she dominated the proceedings throughout the match, to remain unbeaten throughout the competition.

Her teammate, Odikadze Elizbar, sealed the title for Mumbai with his stunning 6-4 win over Andriitesey Valerii in men’s 97kg category.

Nigeria’s Youth and Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung, congratulated Adekuoroye on her victory over Ukraine’s Tatyana Kit.

The two time African Champion had earlier defeated Ukraine’s Liliya Horishna, Babita Kumari and Lalita Sehrawat of India and Priyanka Phogat on her way to the final.

Adekuoroye is the only Nigerian wrestler to secure a slot for the 2016 Rio Olympics after winning bronze at the 2015 World Wrestling Championship in Las Vegas, USA. She also won bronze at the World Grand Prix held in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Flamengoes To Play Colombia, Mexico & China At 2014 FIFA World Cup

Nigeria’s U-17 women’s football team, the Flamengoes, have been drawn in group D for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Costa Rica.

The Flamengoes will play Colombia in their opening game, go against China in the second encounter and tackle Mexico in the final group game.

The U-17 Women’s national team qualified for the world cup finals following the withdrawal of South Sudan.

South Sudan was to host the first leg of the two-legged qualifier against Nigeria between November 1 and 3 2013 but withdrew, making their opponents, Nigeria, the first African team to qualify for the tournament.

At the last edition in Azerbaijan, the Flamengoes made it to the quarter-finals, losing the semi-final place to France in a penalty shoot-out. But it was an experience and exposure for the team, as Halimatu Ayinde finished third top scorer with four goals.

The 2014 2014 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup will be the fourth edition of the tournament since its inception as a competition in 2008 and Nigeria, Ghana and Zambia will represent Africa when the event kicks-off on the March 15 next year.

GROUP A               GROUP B

Costa Rica                 Ghana

Venezuela                 North Korea

Italy                            Germany

Zambia                       Canada                                                                                 

GROUP C                   GROUP D

New Zealand                    Mexico

Paraguay                          China

Spain                               Colombia

Japan                               Nigeria


Flamingoes crash out of FIFA U-17 women world cup losing to France on penalty

The first penalty shootout of the FIFA U-17 Women World Cup in Azerbaijan saw Marion Romanelli strike, the winning spot-kick for France as they beat Nigeria 5-3 to reach the semi-finals.

After an enthralling encounter, Sandie Toletti, Ugochi Emenayo and Declercq exchanged efforts before Sarah Nnodim blew her kick.

The pendulum of victory fell to the French with Romanelli tucking home the winner.

The game turned horrible for Nigeria when Captain Adelomon received only the second red card of the tournament for her second yellow of the match.

The loss means Nigeria has failed to scale the quarter-final hurdle for the second tournament running.

Reacting to the loss, Nigeria’s coach, Peter Dedevbo, stated that “France read us very well. We had our strategies, but they did not pay off. Sometimes football is like that. I am not happy, I have taken my team twice to the World Cup and we lost twice in the quarter-finals. I am not happy at all.”

Earlier before the Flamingoes match, Ri un Sim’s formidable scoring form continued, as a late brace from her saw Korea DPR’s record of always reaching the FIFA U-17 women’s World Cup semi-finals continued with a 2-1 win over Canada.

Canada began the game the brighter, with both Summer Clarke and Nichelle Prince getting in behind the Korean backline, but spurned both chances.

Ri un Sim got the opener in the 78th minute, and it was game over for Canada when she again hit target on 87 minutes.  Nichelle Prince’s goal in added time was too late to level scores.


U-17 Women’s World Cup: Nigeria wallop Azerbaijan 11- 0

Nigeria’s Flamingoes on Tuesday demolished Azerbaijan 11-0 at the on-going FIFA U-17 Women’s World cup sending the host country out of the tournament.

Striker Chinwendu Ihezuo plundered 5 goals to increase her tally to 6 goals and making her one of the top scorers in the competition.

Halimatu Ayinde and Tessy Biahwo bagged a brace each while Joy Bokiri and Aminat Yakubu scored one each to secure Nigeria’s biggest victory in any FIFA World Cup tournament.

Azerbaijan thus has conceded 14 goals and also recorded the worst performance by host of any FIFA World Cup.

Flamingoes coach warns against complacency

Flamingoes have been warned by their coach not to get all laid back as the team will be going into the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup tournament holding in Azerbaijan later in the month of September.

Flamingoes are in Group A with Azerbaijan, Colombia and Canada in a tournament that will start from September 22 to October 13.

The Flamingoes Coach, Peter Dedevbo charged the team especially his strikers to deliver against any team they meet that is do magic in front of goalpost by scoring goals.

Presently, the team is in Portugal where their training tour was scheduled as the team is straining themselves out with warm-up matches, cooking up several strategies plus rigorous training but the coach is still insisting that everything still boils down to the tournament proper which the tournament holding in Azerbaijan.

The coach charged the team to take every chance at goal by making it count that he is confidence that the team will deliver.

Flamingoes head for Faro training camp

Flamingoes the under 17 female team has headed for their Faro training camp where they will be for two weeks as they landed in Turkey, Istanbul and they will be expected to land Faro this evening ahead of the FIFA Women’s Under17 World Cup which begins in Azerbaijan on September 22.

The trip to Turkey was made yesterday by a 23-man contingent and they departed the Murtala Mohammed International airport around 10 pm Nigerian time yesterday and landed at Istanbul in the early hours of today.

However, on a sad note four members of the squad were stopped from proceeding with the contingent due to irregularities in their travel documents and they are midfielder, Chidinma Eze, striker, Oluchi Ofoegbu and coaches Mansur Abdullahi and Taiwo Asiwajo but we were told that they will join the rest of the team in Faro, Portugal on Thursday.

Flamingoes will be starting off their campaign by locking horns with Canada in Baku on September 22, while they will be clashing with the host country in Lakaran on September 25th after which they will meet Colombia for their final preliminary campaign in the competition in Baku on September 29th.