When Armenia started losing during yesterday’s game, I was totally heartbroken at first. But than I looked and saw, that in reality, we’re not losing. The score is nothing – our team was playing so good, that I don’t care about the score anymore. Armenia finally has a great football team for the whole world to see and for us – fans, to enjoy. That was a great game, guys! Go Armenia, you’re super! Continue reading “Armenia 1:2 Ireland”
The FIFA Fair Play Award for 2008 has gone to the Football Associations of Armenia and Turkey for their part in encouraging dialogue between two countries which otherwise do not have any form of diplomatic relationship.
On 6 September 2008, the President of Turkey, Abdula Gul, spent eight hours in Yerevan, on the invitation of Armenian President Serzh Sargsian, in order to attend the two countries’ encounter in a qualifier for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy, whose country was holding the EU Presidency at the time, dubbed the meeting a “historic and brave initiative”. The visit was also heartily applauded by the international press, while 70 per cent of the Turkish public expressed their approval in opinion polls.
As a result, sport, and more specifically football, has helped alleviate a situation where traditional diplomacy had failed since 1991, the year Armenia gained independence. Indeed, President Gul’s trip was backed by nearly two-thirds of the Turkish population, according to a poll carried out by the research centre MetroPOLL, who found that six out of ten members of the Turkish public were in favour of re-establishing diplomatic relations between the two countries.
As for the match itself, 10,000 fans were in the stands to witness this historic encounter first-hand. Visitors Turkey came through to win the game 2-0, but more importantly the match passed by without crowd trouble.
The Turkish President announced that he did not wish the dispute between the two nations to be part of his legacy for future generations. President Gul also invited his Armenian counterpart to attend the FIFA World Cup qualifying match between the two sides in Istanbul on 14 October 2009.
It is also worth noting that two other meetings between nations that do not currently enjoy diplomatic relations took place on 6 September 2008, both of which were also part of the South Africa 2010 preliminary phase. These were Cuba-United States in the North, Central America and Caribbean Zone and Sudan-Chad in the African Zone, two further examples of how decisive a diplomatic role football can play.
The award was presented by UEFA President and FIFA Executive Committee member Michel Platini and his fellow FIFA Executive Committee member Senes Erzik.
Football dominated the Armenian blogosphere this week. Virtual discussions focused on the two games of the Armenian football team – both ending in crushing defeats for the Armenian team. Belgium-Armenia 2:0, Bosnia-Armenia 4:1. The scores are painful for the Armenian blogers: Aerial-vortex and Reporter_arm have shared their views.
Life in Armenian Diaspora blog has reflected on Armenia’s football diplomacy in relation to Turkey and the news on the plans to build a new railway connecting Armenia to Iran.
This is great news, as it only has one rail line functioning at the moment, and that is from unreliable Georgia.  But what is clear is that a new line through Iran is vital for Armenia’s survival and options. Until Armenia has an outlet to the sea, they need to be able to not depend on Turks and Georgians for transportation. The Turks will finally realize that Armenia does have another option and that they’ve missed a big opportunity by not opening the border much earlier. Now Armenia will not be beholden to Turkey’s whims and preconditions. Ever. Or that’s the idea anyway, and they’ll know it. At this point, even if Turkey throws the border gates wide open, the rail project should go ahead.
Unzipped has posted Tigran Paskevichyan’s 10 minute documentary – “Enstrangement”, which was prevented from being screened at Yerevan’s “Moscow” cinema theatre days after another film – by Tigran Khzmalyan this time was also denied the chance to be displayed on the same cinema screen. “Censorship should have no place in Armenia. Censorship should be (and will be) defeated.” – Unzipped says and I so wholeheartedly agree!!!
Pigh is making first steps in the sphere of developing blog-documentaries 🙂 He has posted a photo of the ancient stone with inscriptions estimated to belong to 782 B.C. and used as solid proof to the fact, that Erebuni-Yerevan, the capital of Armenia was found 2790 years ago. As Yerevan celebrates it’s incredible age on October 12 (Rome was found dacades later, on 753 B.C), Pigh posts an extract from Urartu King Argishti’s inscription: “With the Greatness of God Haldi, Son of Menua Argishti found this powerful fortress and gave it the name Erebuni, for the power of the state of Biainili”. Anyway, considering the blogger’s name is also Tigran and the attempt is somewhat ‘documental’, stakes are high his blog will also be banned 🙂
Anyway, the Podcast of all of the above and more, including an interview with the extreemly prolific blogger 517design (who has recently started also a new English language blog – Armenia Discovered) can be downloaded from here.
You can also listen to the Podcast online by clicking the player icon below:
Following Turkish President Abdulla Gull’s historic visit to Armenia, Armenian bloggers are engaged in active discussions – was it a positive step, or a negative one? Was it right for Armenia’s to invite highest Turkish official to Armenia or not? Even the fact Armenian football team lost 0:2 to Turkey, has been completely overshadowed by Turkish president’s visit. There is also an interview with Latvian blogger Artur Mednis. Download the full podcast here or listen to it online below.
Henrik Mkhitaryan scored the late winner in Yerevan (© Khachik Chakhoyan)
Unzipped has an exciting post about the surprise win of the Armenian national youth team (European Championship Qualifying Stage of the Under 21 Championship) over Turkey. Although the game was not that significant and the youth teams are rarely considered important, the fact that the game took place between these two countries which lack diplomatic relations since Turkey closed the Armenian border in 1993 is seen an important first step, to be followed by a game between the national teams of Armenia and Turkey on September 6th.
Although the chances of the Armenian team to win on the September 6 match are rather slim, the win of the youth team has inspired Armenian football fans with renewed confidence.
The game is very promising from a diplomatic perspective as well. Armenian president Serge Sargsian had invited the Turkish president Abdullah Gul to visit Yerevan and watch the game in July. Abdullah Gul has been postponing his decision about accepting or rejecting the invitation. Possible protests in Armenia against Turkish President’s visits are among the reasons for Gul’s hesitation and ARF-Dashnaktsutyun have said they’ll definately stage actions in Yerevan.
At any rate, thousands of Turkish fans are also expected to arrive in Yerevan for the match and the Armenian authorities have already promised to slash visa fees for them. According to some Armenian media reports the Turkish fans have applied to their government asking them to open the Turkey-Armenian border for one day, so they could use the Kars-Gyumri railway to arrive in Armenia and cheer for their team. If true, this might become another significant development in establishing relations between the two neighboring countries.