Soccer News

UPDATE 1-Soccer-UEFA bans former Qarabag official for racist behaviour

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Nov 26 (Reuters) - UEFA has banned a former official of Azerbaijani side Qarabag for life for incidents of a non-sporting nature and racist behaviour on social media, European soccer’s governing body said on Thursday.

UEFA said in a statement that its Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body had decided to ban Nurlan Ibrahimov, who was the club’s press officer, from exercising any football-related activity for life.

Earlier this month, the Football Federation of Armenia had called for Qarabag to be expelled from European football for comments Ibrahimov allegedly made about Armenians, which it said he had subsequently deleted.

At the time, Qarabag said it had opened an internal disciplinary case against Ibrahimov and that his comments were not supported by the club.

The comments were made during the conflict between Azerbaijan’s armed forces and ethnic Armenian forces over the mountain enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh.

The club said previously that Ibrahimov had been traumatised while watching footage of the conflict, including the deaths of women and children in Azeri cities, and that he regretted his comments.

UEFA also fined Qarabag, who are currently involved in the Europa League group stage where they face Villarreal, Maccabi Tel Aviv and Sivasspor, 100,000 euros ($118,980) and requested that FIFA extend worldwide Ibrahimov’s life ban. ($1 = 0.8405 euros) (Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar and Rohith Nair in Bengaluru Editing by Toby Davis)