BUENOS AIRES (Agencia Prensa Armenia)—”I am very pleased that San Lorenzo could be a pioneer in saying no to a budget offering, in saying that not everything can be bought, that not everything can be sold.”
With those words, Matias Lammens, President of the Argentinean football club San Lorenzo de Almagro, was recognized by the Armenian community on Friday for rejecting Azerbaijani sponsorship in his club.
“Sometimes the power of money tries to trample on history, because Nagorno Karabakh was an Armenian territory until 1917. It is surprising how money occupies such an important place in our society and steps over issues of history and identity,” said Lammens.
Lammens was honored by a large gathering of representatives of the Armenian community and Armenian organizations, as well as leaders from other football clubs like the Vice Presidents of River and Independiente, Matias Patanian and Noray Nakis, respectively. The renowned sports journalists Enrique Macaya Marquezand Walter Safarian, who acted as host, also attended the event.
When asked by Prensa Armenia, Lammens provided details of the Azeri officials approaching him in Madrid and Argentina, who told him that “there could not be ethnic Armenians in the executive committee of the club.”
He also expressed his admiration for the Armenian community because “they are great activists and have always passed on from generation to generation the Armenian cause for genocide recognition. It seems incredible that only twenty countries have recognized the Genocide after almost a hundred years.”
Walter Safarian explained that Azerbaijan tried to sponsor the Uruguayan club Peñarol, but failed “because everyone knows that the Armenian community in Uruguay is large and strong. Also, the board of Peñarol had two Armenian officials.”
San Lorenzo is a soccer club based in Buenos Aires’ Flores district. The club was founded 106 years ago, in 1908, and has a large number of Argentinean-Armenian supporters among its fans. The club gained international recognition recently with the election of Pope Francis, a lifelong supporter of the club.