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10th May 2019

Henrikh Mkhitaryan may miss Europa League final due to political unrest

Simon Lloyd

Mkhitaryan looks set to miss the final in Baku

Arsenal’s Henrikh Mkhitaryan could miss the Europa League final against Chelsea later this month due to political tensions between his homeland of Armenia and host nation Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijani capital Baku will stage the final between the two London clubs on May 29. There is a very real chance, however, that Mkhitaryan will play no part.

He has already missed out on Arsenal’s game against FK Qarabag in Azerbaijan earlier this season. He also did not travel to a Europa League game against Gabala when a Borussia Dortmund player in 2015.


“The safety and security of all of our players is of paramount importance,” an Arsenal spokesperson is quoted as saying by the BBC.

“We are seeking guarantees from Uefa that it will be safe for Henrikh Mkhitaryan to travel to Baku for the Europa League final, which both Arsenal and Micki require for him to be included within our squad.

“Acceptable guarantees have not been received yet, and we hope that Uefa will be able to supply these promptly.

“We are of course hugely concerned that the location of the final could lead to Micki not being able to play in a European final.”

Tension between Armenia and Azerbaijan relates to a longstanding conflict over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region. As a result of this, there are no diplomatic relations between the two nations with Azerbaijan not usually allowing any foreign nationals of Armenian descent through its borders.

Arsenal reached the final in Baku after beating Valencia 7-3 on aggregate in the semi-finals. Chelsea, their opponents, needed penalties to beat Eintracht Frankfurt at Stamford Bridge.

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