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Taking on the role when he was just 28, Mammadov’s tenure has coincided with a concerted national push not just into football, but into the the sports industry in general.
With the European Games, the Formula One European Grand Prix in Baku, four games of Uefa’s Euro 2020 tournament (not to mention the Eurovision Song Contest), Azerbaijan is using sport to cement its global perception as a European nation, and to position itself as an elite, regional sporting hub.
In the podcast, we discuss:
– Mammadov’s role in Baku’s unsuccessful bid to host the 2020 Olympic Games and when the city might bid again.
– The structure he has put in place at the AFFA and the focus on youth and women’s soccer that has seen the number of registered female players in the country rise from just 25 in 2010, to over 6,000 today. Azerbaijan’s successful hosting of the 2012 Fifa Women’s Under-17 World Cup was the first time a Muslim nation has hosted a Fifa women’s tournament, and the step change inside the country is now evident.
– Euro 2020; the bidding process that saw Baku given its chance to host; the unique atmosphere that can be expected; and the prospect of unruly visiting fans.
– New Uefa President Aleksander Ceferin; the role the AFFA played in his election victory; and what we can expect from him in the future.