Sports world demonstrates hypocrisy amid Azerbaijan’s attacks on Armenia

When Russian President Vladimir Putin launched unprovoked assaults on Ukraine in February 2022, the sports world reacted rather swiftly.

FIFA banned the Russian national football team from competing in major events like the World Cup and Euro 2024. UEFA announced that the Champions League Final, association football’s biggest game between club teams, would no longer be taking place in Saint Petersburg.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) condemned Russia’s “breach of the Olympic truce” and urged federations of all sports to ban Russia from competing in international events. International federations for swimming, track and field, basketball, ice hockey, figure skating, volleyball – among others – all placed temporary bans and sanctions against Russian athletes shortly after and Russian athletes were not allowed to compete at the 2022 Winter Paralympics.

And finally, Formula 1, the highest class of international racing for open-wheel single-seater formula racing cars, laid down the hammer against Russia, canceling the Russian Grand Prix, which was scheduled to take place in September. Formula 1 later went on to terminate its contract to hold future versions of the Russian Grand Prix.

While the sports world made a stern statement against Russia for its international transgressions, none of the aforementioned federations have made a peep when it comes to Azerbaijan’s recent attacks on Armenia’s sovereign territory.

On Sunday, Azerbaijan’s football team was drawn into Group F by FIFA for the Euro 2024 qualification tournament. While Russia is banned from the tournament, Azerbaijan is scheduled to play against Austria in March 2023.

Apparently, Azeri aggression doesn’t apply to Formula 1’s “strict” code of conduct either. In September, the organization announced that the Azerbaijan Grand Prix will remain on its 2023 schedule. The race has been held at the Baku City Circuit since 2017, most recently in 2021 and 2022 – well after Azerbaijan launched its offensive against Artsakh in 2020. Evidently, Formula 1 believes Russia’s attacks on Ukraine are far more reprehensible than Azerbaijan’s war crimes and murder of Armenian prisoners of war.

Formula 1 race in Baku, Azerbaijan (Photo: Official website of the President of Azerbaijan)

To raise awareness about Formula 1’s deafening silence, the Armenian community and its allies have been the driving force behind an online petition to convince Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali to re-evaluate his Grand Prix host. “Formula 1 – Stop Holding Your Grand Prix in Genocidal Azerbaijan” has garnered more than 31,000 signatures as of Monday.

“As an international sporting event, Formula 1 has a responsibility to host its tournaments in countries that are welcoming to people of all races and genders,” reads the petition, pointing to a handful of Azerbaijan’s many genocidal actions and policies against Armenia, including the recently publicized footage of Azeri soldiers torturing and mutilating Armenian servicewomen. “The Grand Prix in Azerbaijan has brought in over 500 million dollars to Azerbaijan’s economy – which contributes to the military carrying out these crimes against humanity,” continues the petition.

By allowing Azeri athletes to participate in international tournaments and hosting a motor racing event in Baku, FIFA and Formula 1 are publicly condoning the aggressor in these ongoing attacks on Armenia and Artsakh.

Whether or not the IOC, Formula 1 or FIFA impose restrictions against Azerbaijan and its athletes remains to be seen. But as of this moment, their hypocrisy is glaring.

Andre Khatchaturian

Andre Khatchaturian

Andre Khatchaturian is a seasoned digital content producer and the sports correspondent for The Armenian Weekly. He is the founder of Camak Media, a multimedia company specializing in drone footage, video content and photography for small businesses. Prior to this, he produced video and written content at the New England Sports Network (NESN). He has also provided coverage at three Super Bowls and more than a dozen high-profile UFC fights. Andre is from Glendale, California. He graduated from the University of Southern California with a bachelor's degree in mathematics. He moved to Boston in 2013, where he attended Boston University and graduated with a master's degree in broadcast journalism.


  1. When Armenians stop voting for George Soros’s puppet by over 70%, someone else will care. Armenians want to be liberal, don’t want to fight for themselves and then they turn on Russia, the only country that ever helped them and the only force stopping the total destruction of Armenia today.

    All Armenians do is beg the same West that entirely supports Azerbaijan to save them. They will never save you or help you. Stop being cowards. Stop being liberals.
    Stop being materialistic. Embrace nationalism. Fight the enemy yourself. Support Russia.

  2. ATB

    You are the coward you double-talking charlatan. Russia has always collaborated secretly with Turkish terrorists to keep Armenia poor and dependent on Russia run by former KGB criminals. I have no doubt Turk-loving Russia shared sensitive secret Armenian military information with Soviet-invented artificial Azerbaijan in the last terrorist Turkish-led imposed war to bring misery to the Armenians because any democratic regime in Armenia or anywhere else in the region is a direct threat to the totalitarian leaders of Russia as well as to Russia’s Turkish and pseudo-Turkish Azerbaijani criminal collaborators.

    Why did Russia go to war against ‘brotherly’ Ukraine and leveled it to the ground with the suspicion of Ukraine wanting to join the NATO alliance WHILE turning a blind eye on NATO member terrorist genocidal Turkey showing her ugly face in Armenia’s backyard, Russia’s supposed military ally, within a stone-throw away from the Armenian capital and not even lifting a finger to assist Armenia in any way. Answer that question you hollow-minded con artist!

  3. Isn’t it amazing that Armenians are surprised about Western hypocrisy, after experiencing 100-plus years of Western hypocrisy? Isn’t it amazing that Armenians think “Russian President Vladimir Putin launched unprovoked assaults on Ukraine in February 2022”, while the exact opposite is actually true? Armenians have always had and will always have problems with politics and reality. And that in a nutshell is why we Armenians have the kind of history we have…

  4. It is disheartening to see how sports, which are often a symbol of unity and fair play, can sometimes become entangled in political conflicts. At times like these, it is crucial for the international sports community to maintain its commitment to fairness, inclusivity, and the principles that make sports a unifying force. Let’s hope that sports can continue to serve as a bridge between nations, fostering understanding and collaboration, even in the face of complex geopolitical challenges.

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