YEREVAN — Spokesman for the Armenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Tigran Balyan has commented on the reports that Henrikh Mkhitaryan could be denied a visa to Azerbaijan.
“This ridiculous approach of Azerbaijan is not new to us, since they ban anyone with an Armenian surname. This fully fits into this country’s policy of propaganda of hatred for Armenians,” Balayan said in comments to Armenpress.
“It’s clear that the visit to Artakh has nothing to do here,” he added.
“The situation has grown so ridiculous that last year a Turkish man with a Turkish citizenship was not allows into Azerbaijan because of a surname ending in ‘yan’,” the Spokesman concluded.
Armenian midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan could miss the UEFA Europa League match against Azerbaijan’s Gabala FC set for October 22.
According to reports in Azeri media, Borussia Dortmund’s #10 may be denied a visa because of his visit to Nagorno Karabakh in 2011.
“We hope that this is not true,” BVB spokesman Sascha Fligge told the German SPORT1. “At the moment Henrikh is a super important player for us, who has shown brilliant achievements for weeks.”
Meanwhile the Foreign Ministry of Azerbaijan has issued an ambiguous statement that those not exclude the rejection of a visa to Mkhitaryan.
“States conduct their policies in line with UEFA rules and take that rules as basis for holding matches in the territories of their countries when participating in such championships. One of the features of football is that it is a team game and it is perceived as team work and not individual. The visit of “Dortmund Borussia” to Azerbaijan is perceived from the viewpoint of a team visit not an individual visit and, despite sports and politics overlap to some extent, Azerbaijan’s stance is that sports cannot be used for political aims. As refers to the list of undesirable persons, here each case is discussed separately”, reads the Azeri FM statement.