Arsenal will take on Chelsea in the Europa League final later this month and Henrikh Mkhitaryan will not be a part of the Gunners team.

The final will be played in Azerbaijan and given that Henrikh Mkhitaryan is an Armenian citizen there could be serious political tensions in case the midfielder lands in Baku.

This is the exact same reason why he did not travel to Azerbaijan for a group stage game but given that this is the final, Arsenal expected cooperation from UEFA.

A fortnight ago, UEFA put out a statement in which they said that they had received assurances from Azerbaijan’s soccer governing body about the safety of Henrikh Mkhitaryan during the Europa League final.

“Assurances were sought on this matter by UEFA and Arsenal FC, with the Azerbaijan Football Association confirming that there would be no problem for the player in question to enter and stay in Azerbaijan and that all necessary security measures would be in place,” UEFA had said(as reported).

Even the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has come out to say that Henrikh Mkhitaryan should not have any problem playing at the Baku Olympic Stadium.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Leyla Abdullayeva said“Many major sports events have been hosted in Azerbaijan, and Armenian athletes have taken part in them,

“Sports and politics are separate.”

But even after all these assurances, Arsenal have decided that they will not risk taking Henrikh Mkhitaryan to Azerbaijan for the final.

And replying to this decision, UEFA have come out to cleverly washed their hands in the whole situation by claiming that the absence of Henrikh Mkhitaryan from clash vs Chelsea is a “personal decision”.

UEFA released a statement which read: “Working alongside Arsenal FC, UEFA sought and received assurances regarding the players’ safety in Azerbaijan from the highest authorities the country.

“As a result of these guarantees, a comprehensive security plan was developed and given to the club.

“While the club acknowledges the efforts that UEFA and the Azeri government have gone to in this manner, we respect the personal decision not to travel with the player.”

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