Azerbaijani authorities have decided to squeeze the maximum from holding the Europa League final in Baku.
For the first time in history, UEFA organized this year the Europa League Trophy Tour, which provided an opportunity for football fans across Europe to see the trophy. The tour started in Geneva, followed by Seville, Berlin, London, Milan, Moscow, Paris and ended in the capital of Azerbaijan, Baku.
According to news.day.az, the cup arrived in Baku on May 18, the next day went to Ganja and then to the village of Cocuq Mercanli.
By the way, Azerbaijani people decleared the liberation of this village which has never even been under the control of Nagorno-Karabakh.
For the rural children, who personally saw the Europa League Cup, you can only rejoice. But in general, the desire of the authorities of the country to squeeze the maximum political dividends from a sport event is obvious. Hoewever, the success does not accompanies the venture this time.
The Azerbaijani authorities unofficially banned the entry of Armenian fans to Baku during the final. The Arsneal fans and Armenian MFA were indignant. The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry, in turn, noted that no one was banned from the entry. According to them, it is Armenia which uses Henrikh Mkhitaryan for its “provocative purposes”.
The Secretary General of the Association of Football Federations of Azerbaijan (AFFA), Elkhan Mammadov, expressed deep regret over the decision of Mkhitaryan to refuse to go to Baku. “We are very disappointed with the statement by Arsenal and we feel this decision is unjustified and unwarranted. We have organised many, many sporting events in our country and Armenian athletes have had no issues at all regarding safety and security. They have competed here with no problems and have been treated in a very fair way," he said.
The actions of the Azerbaijani authorities have already caused a negative reaction, and not only in Armenia. According to Russian journalist Vasily Utkin, “if Azerbaijan decides to host events of such a level, then they should know they are obliged to ensure its normal conduct. And what if an Armenian of French Armenian is appointed a match commissioner?”
The Europa League finals will be held on May 29 at the Baku Olympic Stadium.