UEFA lifts ban on international matches in Azerbaijan and Armenia ahead of Euro 2020 match in Baku

At the meeting earlier this week, the UEFA Executive Committee has decided to lift the ban on international matches in Armenia and Azerbaijan following the ceasefire that was agreed between both countries on 9 November. The said suspension was imposed by the governing body in October following the military conflict in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.

With the signing of this ceasefire “and taking into account all the circumstances, it is considered that the conditions for holding UEFA matches in both countries can now be met,” UEFA said after its executive meeting held by videoconference. Before the ceasefire, fighting flared to its worst level since the 1990s with hundreds killed in almost months of intense conflict.

In the recent confrontation, more than 100 people have reportedly died. The two former Soviet republics have been involved in a conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, a 1,700 square mile enclave in the Caucasus Mountains, for decades now. The last encounter was recorded between 1988 and 1994, a separatist war that left nearly 40,000 people dead and hostilities between the two nations.

The two countries are now allowed to host international matches held under the auspices of UEFA. It also means that Azerbaijan’s national and club level teams will be able to play home games in our country. Earlier, the Azerbaijani national team played Nations League matches abroad, while Qarabagh FC was able to play the third home game of the Europa League in Turkey.

Wales are due to play two Euro 2020 matches in Baku next summer. The disputed region is less than 200 miles from the Azerbaijani capital Baku. Baku is the capital city of Azerbaijan and they boast a 68,700-seat stadium called Baku Olympic Stadium. This six-storey stadium was the venue will stage the following matches Wales v Switzerland; Turkey v Wales; Switzerland v Turkey; Quarter-final.

This 225,000-square-meter stadium on a 650,000-square-meter site is one of the youngest stadiums to be used in the tournament as it was completed just in February 2015. Although named after the Olympics, Baku Olympic Stadium is yet to host the Olympics. However, the design of the stadium is based on Olympic blueprints that hold multi-purpose events.