Nobel Arustamyan gets accreditation for Euro-2020 after initial ban by Baku

Sports commentator for Russian «Матч ТВ» channel Nobel Arustamyan has been accredited for Euro-2020, Spokesperson for the Russian Ministry of foreign Affairs Maria Zakharova said on Telegram.

She thanked UEFA for helping settle the issue.

His accreditation was earlier blocked by Azerbaijan’s football federation.

The vice president of the federation, Elkhan Mammadov, confirmed his country was behind the refusal, and cited his visits to Nagorno Karabakh as a reason for the ban.

Commenting on the issue, Nobel Arustamyan said: “Yes, I have really visited Nagorno Karabakh – and I speak about it openly. This is the homeland of my ancestors, in particular my grandfather, whose surname I bear. My roots are there, and I am not ashamed of it. And this has never been a problem for me.”

“My case shows: the authorities of Azerbaijan as a state has zero tolerance towards Armenians worldwide,” Arustamyan said.

“I will not give hundreds of examples when people with twenty-five percent of Armenian blood, with a passport of another country have not been able to enter Azerbaijan just because of their surname. They were simply not allowed to check in for the flight,” the journalist noted.

Azerbaijan has long pursued the policy of denying entry to people with Armenian surnames.

“It’s clear I was not planning to visit Baku this summer anyway. They do not expect me in Azerbaijan, they do not welcome me there – just as they have not welcomed all Armenians for a long time. I’m well aware of the local Armenophobia. I come from Baku, my parents were born there, my grandfather is buried there, and my whole family is from there. We all had to leave there at the end of the 80s,” Nobel continued.

“Therefore, I had no illusions. I wanted to work in other cities. And the block of Azerbaijan was generally expected. I took it very calmly, even with an ironic smile,” he said.

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