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AZERBAIJAN beat SAN MARINO 5-1

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Ramin Guliyev bags gold medal with new record in men’s 200 meters

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Turkish world champion sprinter Ramil Guliyev on Aug. 9 captured the gold medal in the 200-meter men’s race in the European Athletics Championships in Berlin.

Guliyev also broke a record with his 19.76-second showing on day three of the tournament, with British athlete Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake coming in second with 20.04 seconds.

Guliyev, who is originally from Azerbaijan but gained Turkish citizenship in 2011, secured his first gold medal for Turkey last year, in the men’s 200 meters at the International Association of Athletics Federations World Championships in London.

In a telephone call, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan congratulated Guliyev on his achievement.

Earlier Aug. 9, Turkish athlete Yasmani Copello Escobar scored a silver medal in the 400-meter hurdles men’s final.

Escobar ran the 400-meter hurdles in 47.81 seconds, breaking Turkey’s previous record of 47.92 seconds.

Norwegian Karsten Warholm won the gold medal with 47.64 seconds, and Irish Thomas Barr won the bronze with 48.31 seconds.

The European Athletics Championships 2018 are being held on Aug. 6-12.

In 2016 Escobar won the gold medal in the European Athletics Championships in Amsterdam.

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ÖZİL QUITS GERMAN TEAM DUE TO RACISM

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Mesut Ozil said on Sunday July 22nd that he is quitting the German national football team, citing “racism” in the criticism of him in the side’s Soccer World Cup debacle.

“It is with a heavy heart and after much consideration that because of recent events, I will no longer be playing for Germany at international level whilst I have this feeling of racism and disrespect,” he tweeted.

Ozil, who has Turkish roots, had earlier defended his decision to pose for a controversial photograph with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in May which sparked questions about his loyalty to Germany’s squad ahead of the World Cup in Russia.

In a three-part statement on Twitter sent over the course of the day, an angry Ozil saved his bombshell for the final salvo.

In it, the Arsenal midfielder blamed the German Football Federation (DFB) for failing to defend him against his most strident critics.

“Arguably the issue that has frustrated me the most over the past couple of months has been the mistreatment from the DFB, and in particular the DFB President Richard Grindel,” he said.

He said that Grindel and Germany coach Joachim Loew had asked him to give a “joint statement to end all the talk and set the record straight” over the picture with Erdogan.

“Whilst I attempted to explain to Grindel my heritage, ancestry and therefore reasoning behind the photo, he was far more interested in speaking about his own political views and belittling my opinion.”

Ozil said he had been unfairly blamed in Germany for the side’s shock first-round defeat at the World Cup.

“I will no longer stand for being a scapegoat for his (Grindel’s) incompetence and inability to do his job properly,” he said.

Ozil said earlier that he was true to both his Turkish and German origins and insisted he did not intend to make a political statement by appearing with Erdogan.

“Like many people, my ancestry traces back to more than one country. Whilst I grew up in Germany, my family background has its roots firmly based in Turkey,” he said.

“I have two hearts, one German and one Turkish.”

Ozil, 29, said he had first met Erdogan in 2010 after the president and German Chancellor Angela Merkel watched a Germany-Turkey match together in Berlin.

Ozil said that despite the timing of the picture with team-mate Ilkay Gundogan and Erdogan – shortly before the president won re-election in a poll endowing him with sweeping new powers – “it wasn’t about politics or elections, it was about me respecting the highest office of my family’s country”.

“My job is a football player and not a politician, and our meeting was not an endorsement of any policies,” Ozil added.

Germany is home to more than three million people of Turkish origin.

Ozil and Gundogan were booed by German fans in pre-World Cup friendlies after posing with Erdogan in London.

Manchester City midfielder Gundogan presented him with a signed club shirt on which he had written “to my president”.

After the tournament, Ozil came in for stinging criticism by DFB officials and German politicians across the spectrum.

Team boss Oliver Bierhoff suggested after the debacle that Germany should have considered dropping Ozil after his failure to explain himself over the Erdogan picture.

Bierhoff later backtracked, saying that he “was wrong” to put Ozil under undue pressure, but the picture continued to draw scorn from fans on social media.

Meanwhile, former captain Lothar Matthaeus accused Ozil of no longer looking comfortable in the Germany shirt.

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AZERBAIJAN ASKS BETTER DEAL FROM FORMULA 1

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The Azerbaijan GP organisers have asked Formula 1 chiefs for a reduction in the race sanction fee it pays from 2021 onwards.

The event currently pays one of the biggest fees of any race on the calendar, a move that was necessary to convince Bernie Ecclestone to give it his blessing and convince the F1 teams that Baku would be financially worthwhile.

Ecclestone agreed a 10-year deal, with a break clause after five years.

Having run three races thus far, Azerbaijan is committed to the current arrangements for the next two years, which will see out the first half of the original contract.

However, it wants to have a more favourable deal for the second five-year term from 2021 to 2025.

The push for a better price comes in the wake of a similar move from Hockenheim, whose contract to host the German GP in alternate seasons ends this year, and the news that the Miami GP will have a new style of risk and revenue sharing deal.

“We have a contract which is a binding contract for five years, for five races, starting in 2016,” said Azerbaijan promoter Arif Rahimov. “Neither of us can break it unless we agree to break it.

“We haven’t triggered the break clause. We’re negotiating on the second part of the contract. We all know we need to improve bits, so we’re trying hard to make sure that it’s good for us and good for F1.”

Since Liberty came on board, more information about what races pay has emerged, and thus promoters have a better idea of what other events typically pay,

“In general we want to be close to the average. Now that it’s public information I think everyone knows what the average is,” added Rahimov.

“You have a few outliers to remove from both ends, statistically speaking, but obviously we want to be close in that mid-range of flyaway races.

“We cannot just take the average of all the races, because European races pay less for a lot of reasons, starting from logistics and cost of operation etc.

“But we do definitely want to be there in the average of the flyaway races, That’s not the only thing we’re discussing with FOM, it’s most of the other commercial terms in the contract too. They want to try a new approach, it’s a bi-lateral effort to make it viable for all of us.

“We will try to get it sorted before the end of June, so I think we’ll come to some agreement. Obviously I’m asking for an improvement which is eating into their profits, it’s quite obvious.”

Rahimov was keen to dispel rumours that the arrival of the Miami GP in 2019 could lead to Azerbaijan being dropped to make way, with some even suggesting that the Baku pit and paddock infrastructure would be shipped to Florida.

“If Miami comes in it can come in and all the other races can stay there. It’s up to 22 races anyways.

“I think it was just a rumour, I don’t know how this rumour got spread, because it made no sense from the beginning. I guess they’re going to release the draft calendar this month of next month.

“We’re going to be in this calendar, and I guess it’s going to sort out most of the questions.”

Azerbaijan is also keen to return to June in 2019 after this year’s race was switched to April.

“We want to move back to June. It takes us a while to set up the circuit, it takes us three or four months, and if we are in April we have to start in the winter, and you have adverse weather, rain and wind and everything that stops you working efficiently, so we definitely want to move it to June.”

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