LONDON — Arsenal have accused UEFA of failing to provide ‘acceptable guarantees’ that Armenian midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan will be safe to travel to Azerbaijan’s capital Baku for the Europa League final later this month.
The 29-year-old was left out of Arsenal’s squad for their 3-0 win over Azerbaijani side Qarabag in October and also stayed at home while playing for Borussia Dortmund when they faced Gabala during the 2015-16 season. Arsenal are disappointed that they might be prevented from taking one of their players to a major European final.
“The safety and security of our players is of paramount importance,” said an Arsenal spokesperson. “We are seeking guarantees from UEFA that it will be safe for Henrikh Mikhitaryan 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.”
Mkhitaryan has played a prominent part in Arsenal’s run to the Europa League final, featuring in 11 of their 14 games. Although he hasn’t scored in the competition, he came on for Mesut Özil as a substitute in Arsenal’s semi-final in Valencia and assisted for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s third goal on Thursday.
Arsenal made it to the Europa League final after beating Valencia 7-3 on aggregate in semi-final. They will face Chelsea, who beat Eintracht Frankfurt 4-3 on penalties in the other semi-final. The final will be played on Wednesday May 29 at Baku Olympic stadium.
They should change the venue to Yerevan or Tblisi