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» UEFA fines Olympique Marseille over pro-Armenia banner
09/03/2022 Yazdır

UEFA fined France's Olympique Marseille on Tuesday over a "provocative and offensive" banner that fans displayed during a recent match against an Azerbaijani team from the Karabakh region. 

The French club were fined €20,000 ($21,800) for the banner emblazoned with a pro-Armenian message on the region that was liberated by Azerbaijan in 2020 after nearly three decades of occupation.

They were fined another €24,250 for the presence of fans in corridors that should be left empty in the stands, as well as the use of smoke bombs during a UEFA Europa Conference League match against Qarabag on Feb. 17.

Olympique Marseille beat Qarabag 3-1 at home in the first leg of the Europa Conference League playoffs at Stade Velodrome.

They eliminated Qarabag after winning 6-1 on aggregate. 

The French club will face Switzerland's Basel on March 10 in a first leg Round of 16 match in Marseille.

Relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan have been tense since 1991 when the Armenian military occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, also known as Upper Karabakh, a territory internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan

Clashes erupted on Sept. 27, 2020, with the Armenian army attacking civilians and Azerbaijani forces and violating several humanitarian cease-fire agreements.

The fighting ended, after Azerbaijan liberated several cities and around 300 settlements and villages that were occupied by Armenia for almost 30 years, with a Russian-brokered agreement on Nov. 10, 2020, which was seen as a victory for Azerbaijan and a defeat for Armenia.