Soccer official fights UEFA life ban for social media posts

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — A soccer club official banned for life for offensive comments on social media that were not related to sport challenged UEFA at court on Friday.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport said Nurlan Ibrahimov’s appeal was heard over 2 ½ hours. No timetable was given for a verdict by the panel of three judges.

Ibrahimov was a press officer at Azerbaijani club Qarabağ when he posted anti-Armenia comments last year during conflict between the countries over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region. More than 6,600 people died in a six-week war that ended last November after Azerbaijan regained control of large swaths of territory.

UEFA opened the disciplinary investigation when Qarabağ was playing in the Europa League group stage last season.

The disciplinary panel found charges proven of “racist behavior” and an incident “of a non-sporting nature” against the club and its employee.

Ibrahimov, who has since turned 37, was banned for soccer from life and Qarabağ was fined 100,000 euros ($116,000).

A FIFA disciplinary judge later confirmed UEFA’s request to extend the life ban worldwide.

Relatives visit a military cemetery with the graves of Armenian soldiers killed during the fighting over Nagorno-Karabakh in 2020, outside Yerevan, Armenia, Monday, Sept. 27, 2021. Azerbaijan and Armenia are marking the first anniversary of the start of their six-week war in which more than 6,600 people died and that ended with Azerbaijan regaining control of large swaths of territory. In Yerevan, the Armenian capital, thousands of people went to the Yerablur military cemetery to pay respects to soldiers buried there. (Karo Sahakyan/PAN Photo via AP)

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