The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan caused footballer Varazdat Haroyan, captain of the Armenian national team, to leave football and support Artsakh from Turkish-sponsored aggression.
Because of this, he did not complete the transfer to Greek Superleague Club Athlitiki Enosi Larissa. The club announced on Tuesday that the deal had been canceled by Haroyan’s departure to support Artsakh.
Larissa even released a message from Haroyan’s manager, Alexis Kouyias, explaining the player’s situation. The agent states that the athlete is “unable” to travel to Europe, and shows concern about the war.
Initial reports said he was going to the front line to fight.
On social media, the football defender said “the information that I am in the war zone in [Artsakh] is not true.”
“I am in Russia now, but I will soon fly to Armenia. However, like any other Armenian, I will support my homeland in all possible ways. Me and my team members from Armenian national team have already created [a] monetary fund that will meet at least some needs of our soldiers. Today every Armenian will and must support my country to overcome this hard period that will end very soon,” he said.
Now 28, the defender has played 51 international games for Armenia. At the moment he is without a club after leaving Russian club Ural Yekaterinburg this month. Last season he played in 20 games, scored a goal and made two assists.
On Sunday, Azerbaijan launched its aggression against Artsakh. With the military escalation, the two countries declared martial law.
Moscow has a defense alliance with Armenia, while Ankara supports Azerbaijan. For this reason, the fighting, considered the most violent since 2016, has caused international unrest and led the UN, Russia, France and the United States to call for an immediate ceasefire.
However, Azerbaijan has sworn to keep fighting until it defeats Armenian defenders in Artsakh. Although Artsakh is internationally recognized as a part of Armenia, the region achieved a de facto independence in 1994 after achieving a decisive victory.
The Artsakh region has been an integral part of Armenia since about 500BC and has always been an Armenian-majority region. However, Artsakh was given to Azerbaijan in the early 1920’s on decision by the Soviet Union to appease Kemalist Turkey in the hope that the newly formed Turkish Republic might become a Soviet Republic in the future by appeasing their Azeri Turkish kin.