• UEFA backs removal of HIV status from Azerbaijan visa application ahead of Europa League final
    14:43 | 24/04/2019

    UEFA has backed Azerbaijan’s decision to remove HIV/hepatitis status from visa applications ahead of the 2019 Europa League final in Baku.

    UEFA has backed Azerbaijan’s decision to remove HIV/hepatitis status from visa applications ahead of the 2019 Europa League final in Baku.

    The Azerbaijan authorities made the decision on Tuesday to alter the current e-visa system so that the requirement on HIV/hepatitis confirmation is to be removed when visitors apply for visas.

    Azerbaijan used to require visitors to the country to confirm their HIV/hepatitis status before entering the Caucasus nation.

    The UEFA Europa League final will be held at the Olympic Stadium in Baku on May 29.

    It comes after a request was put forward by UEFA, on behalf of supporters who will travel to Baku next month.

    UEFA says the question was of “a discriminatory nature and should not prevent football fans from attending the Europa League final or EURO 2020 matches next year.”

    Ian Green, chief executive of the prominent HIV charity the Terence Higgins Trust, said: “We welcome the decision by the Azerbaijan authorities to remove the requirement of visitors to disclose their HIV status when seeking a visa to enter the country and applaud UEFA for lobbying for this outcome.

    “No one living with HIV should be subject to discrimination but we know these restrictive policies continue to exist in many countries across the world, including the 2022 World Cup hosts Qatar.

    “Thanks to effective treatment, people living with HIV cannot pass the virus on and therefore there is zero risk of onward transmission. Policies and practices which do not recognise this, simply fuel stigma and misconceptions about HIV, which in turn can prevent people from accessing HIV testing and life-saving treatment.

    “I hope this win by UEFA will send a loud message around the world that HIV discrimination has absolutely no place in football or any other sport.”

    Azerbaijan authorities have changed visa requirements for supporters travelling to the Europa League final in Baku.

    English sides Arsenal and Chelsea both remain in the Europa League, and feature in the semi-finals against Valencia and Eintracht Frankfurt respectively; both of which begin next week.

    Alexandre Lacazette’s free-kick in the second leg helped Arsenal to a 3-0 aggregate win over Napoli to reach the semi-finals, whilst Pedro scored twice for Chelsea as they beat Slavia Prague 4-3.

    Source – Sky Sports

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