BAKU, Azerbaijan, April 17. Sports federations should refrain from holding events on the territory of Armenia, Lev Spivak, president of the Israel-Azerbaijan International Association "AzIz", told Trend, commenting on the demonstrative burning of the flag of Azerbaijan at the opening ceremony of the European Weightlifting Championship in Armenia.
"Burning the flag is an insult to the people of this country and its government. If such an incident occurred in one country, there should be an apology, even if it is not a friendly country. At a minimum, sports federations should refrain from holding events on the territory of Armenia for some time until this country provides evidence that it is capable of ensuring the safety of athletes and people attending events," Spivak said.
Spivak noted that since the emergence of the Olympic Movement, all sports competitions have been perceived not just a sign of peace, but also as a reason for a truce.
"Armenian athletes came to Azerbaijan, and Israeli athletes competed with athletes from the United Arab Emirates, so even when we had the worst relations, sports is always above that. What happened in Armenia is different. This is incomprehensible and wild. How can you treat people like that? Even if there is a personal dislike, it cannot be spread to the whole nation. Even if you align yourself with Armenian propaganda, which for years inspired and created the image of Azerbaijani as an enemy, basis of culture should remain," he said.
Spivak also pointed out that in the current turbulent world, special attention is paid to providing security at any political events, large concerts, sports competitions, and in places where a large number of people gather.
"What happened in Armenia suggests that there are big problems with ensuring security," Spivak added.
Meanwhile, on April 14, 2023, at the opening ceremony of the European Weightlifting Championship in Yerevan, the flag of Azerbaijan was defiantly burned by an officially accredited person.
After this incident, the decision to return Azerbaijani athletes from Yerevan was made.
Following the incident, which is the embodiment of hatred and enmity in Armenia towards Azerbaijan on ethnic grounds, a criminal case has been initiated in the Investigation Department of the Prosecutor General's Office of Azerbaijan under Articles 12.2, 283.2.1 (incitement of ethnic hatred and enmity with the use of violence), 12.2, 283.2.2 (incitement of national hatred and enmity with the use of violence by a person using his official position), 12.2, 324 (desecration of the State Flag of the Republic of Azerbaijan) of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Azerbaijan.