Georgian team to appeal to UEFA over alleged flag-burning

AP News
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Posted: Jul 10, 2015 6:52 AM

TBILISI, Georgia (AP) — Georgian football club Dinamo Tbilisi has said it will ask UEFA to investigate an Azerbaijani team after its fans allegedly burned the Georgian flag and displayed nationalist banners at a Europa League game.

Azerbaijan's FC Gabala beat Dinamo 2-0 at home on Thursday for a 3-2 win on aggregate in the Europa League first qualifying round.

Following the game, Georgian TV showed pictures of the alleged flag-burning, as well as banners claiming that part of Georgia's territory rightfully belongs to Azerbaijan. The banners were removed by security.

Dinamo's executive director Nikoloz Dzhgarkava told the Rustavi 2 TV channel that the club is examining the events and will contact UEFA.

Thursday's incident was the latest in a series of conflicts between fans from the two countries, which usually have warm diplomatic relations.

Following last week's first-leg match in Georgia, Azerbaijani officials said Georgian fans had abused the Azerbaijani flag. There were also clashes between Georgian supporters and visiting fans, apparently sparked when Azerbaijani supporters displayed the flag of the Grey Wolves, a nationalist militant group.

Last year, Azerbaijani fans were angered by another Europa League game when fans of Georgian club Chikhura Sachkhere flew a flag with a map claiming parts of various neighboring countries, including Azerbaijan, as Georgian territory.