Iran: Dispute with Azerbaijan over polo

Iran said Monday that it would oppose attempts by Azerbaijan to officially register polo with the United Nations as a purely indigenous sport, arguing that polo is an international game and Azerbaijan has no right to claim that it originated there.

The official Islamic Republic News Agency quoted Mohammad-Ali Najafi, the head of Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization, as saying in a letter to Unesco that “Iran strongly requests the rejection” of Azerbaijan’s application to register polo — which both nations call chogan — as an entry on the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list. Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India are among the countries that also have a claim on the game, the world’s oldest known competitive team sport, in which players on horseback use mallets to swat a ball through the opposing side’s goal posts. Unesco — the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization — will decide on Azerbaijan’s application during a meeting of its Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage to be held in Baku, Azerbaijan, Dec. 2-7.

By The New York Times


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