Russian Journalist Nobel Arustamyan banned from Euro 2020

A Russian journalist has been banned from covering football's European Championship by Azerbaijan's organising committee over his visits to the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh, sparking outrage in Moscow on Wednesday, the Moscow Time reports.

Nobel Arustamyan, a journalist with Armenian ancestry working for the Russian Match TV station, said Tuesday that Azerbaijan's organizing committee has denied him accreditation for Euro 2020 that is being organized in 11 European cities including the Azerbaijani capital, Baku.

The approval of the 11 national organizing committees is necessary for journalists to be accredited.

The oil-rich country on the Caspian Sea is set to host three group games in June — Wales v Switzerland, Turkey v Wales, Switzerland v Turkey — and a quarter-final in July.

The vice president of the Azerbaijani Football Federation, Elkhan Mammadov, confirmed his country was behind the refusal.

"This person has repeatedly visited the occupied lands of Azerbaijan for many years and during these visits did not receive permission from the relevant structures of Azerbaijan," Mammadov told journalists.

"He violated the laws of our country, showing disrespect for the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan."

Azerbaijan's Armenian-populated breakaway region of Karabakh was last year at the center of a six-week war between the arch-foe neighbors.

The war has claimed the lives of some 6,000 people and ended in November with a Russian-brokered ceasefire that saw Armenia cede swathes of territories it had controlled for decades.

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