The Argentine San Lorenzo de Almagro football club has rejected the sponsorship of Azerbaijan, a country which uses sport to cover human rights violations on its territory, sources close to the club told Prensa Armenia Agency.
According to reports, one of the conditions of Azerbaijan was that there had to be no ethnic Armenians in the executive committee of the club in the future.
The news raised concerns in the Armenian community as the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev said in the past that “Armenians worldwide are the enemies of his country.”
Azerbaijan currently sponsors Spain’s Atlético Madrid, providing 12.5 million euros a season. In this regard the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) called Azerbaijan the “Land Of Repression,” a play on Azerbaijan’s tourism slogan “Land of Fire,” which appears on Atlético Madrid’s uniforms. It rated Azerbaijan 160 out of 180 in the latest of its annual World Press Freedom Index and charges the international community of ignoring Azerbaijan’s rights record because of its large supply of oil and gas.
Citing its sources in the Argentine Football Association, the agency reports that after San Lorenzo de Almagro turned down Azerbaijan’s offer, the latter is looking for a different partner in Argentina. The Atlético Independiente could be an option, but the Armenian origin of its new Vice-President Noray Nakis will be a problem.