San Lorenzo – Refusing to play with the Land of Fire

San Lorenzo – Refusing to play with the Land of Fire

In July 2014 San Lorenzo was offered a sponsorship deal by Azerbaijan worth between €3 and €4 million. The deal was offered while Atlético Madrid and San Lorenzo were negotiating a transfer that would see striker Ángel Correa join Madrid. San Lorenzo was a lucrative target for the Caucasus nation, as the club’s participation in the 2014 FIFA Club World Championship would have given the Land of Fire campaign a global platform. The sponsorship slogan Land of Fire has become a major trademark in European football, especially since Atlético Madrid’s successful 2013/14 Champions League campaign that saw the club reach the final in which they were defeated by city rival Real Madrid. But on March 20 our sister site Futbolgrad revealed the extent to which, Azerbaijan has used football as a marketing tool to gloss over issues such as human rights, and freedom of press violations in the country. Alongside the Los Colchoneros as Atlético is often called by their fans, RC Lens, and Sheffield Wednesday also wear the Land of Fire slogan. In the new season SS Lazio will join the aforementioned clubs as they have signed a deal with Azerbaijan that is rumoured to be worth €40 million. As the sponsorship offer to San Lorenzo highlights, European clubs have not been the only ones in the global marketing strategy of the country. El Ciclón as San Lorenzo is often referred to by fans, however, refused the deal, as Azerbaijan wanted to include a clause that would have forbidden people of Armenian descent to run for the executive committee of the club. Faced with the offer San Lorenzo president Matías Lammens allegedly told the Azerbaijani negotiators that he himself was Armenian. Strictly speaking Lammens is not Armenian but he does have deep roots with the Armenian community in the city of Buenos Aires. His stance was later recognized by the Armenian community of Buenos Aires in a cultural event, where Lammens was quoted with the following statement: "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." San Lorenzo was, however, not the only South American club that turned down an offer from the Land of Fire marketing campaign. The Uruguayan club Peñarol from Uruguay’s capital was also approached with an offer by the cultural bureau of Azerbaijan. Like San Lorenzo, the Uruguayan club was also asked to bar people of Armenian descent from holding executive offices at the club. Currently, two members of Peñarol’s board of directors are of Armenian descent, furthermore the club strongly opposed the offer and said in a statement "no matter the size of the organization making the offer, nothing can impose race or religious discrimination on the club.” The offers to both Peñarol and San Lorenzo highlight the amount of influence Azerbaijan tries to enact over clubs that are part of the Land of Fire marketing campaign. The fact that Atlético was used as a conduit to begin negotiations between Azerbaijan and San Lorenzo further emphasizes this, as it shows the extent of Azerbaijan’s influence over the Los Colchoneros. By Manuel Veth-

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In July 2014 San Lorenzo was offered a sponsorship deal by Azerbaijan worth between €3 and €4 million. The deal was offered while Atlético Madrid and San Lorenzo were negotiating a transfer that would see striker Ángel Correa join Madrid. San Lorenzo was a lucrative target for the Caucasus nation, as the club’s participation in the 2014 FIFA Club World Championship would have given the Land of Fire campaign a global platform.

The sponsorship slogan Land of Fire has become a major trademark in European football, especially since Atlético Madrid’s successful 2013/14 Champions League campaign that saw the club reach the final in which they were defeated by city rival Real Madrid.

But on March 20 our sister site Futbolgrad revealed the extent to which, Azerbaijan has used football as a marketing tool to gloss over issues such as human rights, and freedom of press violations in the country. Alongside the Los Colchoneros as Atlético is often called by their fans, RC Lens, and Sheffield Wednesday also wear the Land of Fire slogan. In the new season SS Lazio will join the aforementioned clubs as they have signed a deal with Azerbaijan that is rumoured to be worth €40 million.

As the sponsorship offer to San Lorenzo highlights, European clubs have not been the only ones in the global marketing strategy of the country. El Ciclón as San Lorenzo is often referred to by fans, however, refused the deal, as Azerbaijan wanted to include a clause that would have forbidden people of Armenian descent to run for the executive committee of the club. Faced with the offer San Lorenzo president Matías Lammens allegedly told the Azerbaijani negotiators that he himself was Armenian. Strictly speaking  Lammens is not Armenian but he does have deep roots with the Armenian community in the city of Buenos Aires.

His stance was later recognized by the Armenian community of Buenos Aires in a cultural event, where Lammens was quoted with the following statement: “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.”

San Lorenzo was, however, not the only South American club that turned down an offer from the Land of Fire marketing campaign. The Uruguayan club Peñarol from Uruguay’s capital was also approached with an offer by the cultural bureau of Azerbaijan. Like San Lorenzo, the Uruguayan club was also asked to bar people of Armenian descent from holding executive offices at the club.

Currently, two members of Peñarol’s board of directors are of Armenian descent, furthermore the club strongly opposed the offer and said in a statement “no matter the size of the organization making the offer, nothing can impose race or religious discrimination on the club.”

The offers to both Peñarol and San Lorenzo highlight the amount of influence Azerbaijan tries to enact over clubs that are part of the Land of Fire marketing campaign. The fact that Atlético was used as a conduit to begin negotiations between Azerbaijan and San Lorenzo further emphasizes this, as it shows the extent of Azerbaijan’s influence over the Los Colchoneros.

By Manuel Veth

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 3
  • comment-avatar

    Great piece! Shared in our social media tubes. Loved the family concept with Futbolgrad.

  • comment-avatar

    Great piece, truly opening my eyes to how far across the world they’re willing to go with their denialist agenda. An agenda that WILL be defeated one day, truly exposing these cowards from the inside out.
    Thank you for bringing light to this.

  • comment-avatar

    A simple and innlleigett point, well made. Thanks!

  • DISQUS: 0