Arsenal have confirmed that Henrikh Mkhitaryan will not be included in the squad for next week’s Europa League final with Chelsea.
While not explicitly stating the reason, a statement confirms that after consultation with the midfielder and his family, it has been decided by all parties that it is better for him not to travel to Azerbaijan.
Mkhitaryan was granted a visa for the trip – something the Azerbaijan government were pressured into issuing by UEFA – but it has seemingly been deemed unwise to risk his safety in the country due to the ongoing political situation between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
The club had written to UEFA 11 days ago seeking assurances on behalf of Mkhitaryan. Not only were those not forthcoming, the Azerbaijan ambassador to the UK yesterday spoke in somewhat sinister terms yesterday about what would happen if Micki ‘played the issue’.
In a statement on Arsenal.com, the club said: “We are very disappointed to announce that Henrikh Mkhitaryan will not be travelling with the squad for our Uefa Europa League final against Chelsea.
“We have thoroughly explored all the options for Micki to be part of the squad but after discussing this with Micki and his family we have collectively agreed he will not be in our travelling party.
“We have written to Uefa expressing our deep concerns about this situation. Micki has been a key player in our run to the final so this is a big loss for us from a team perspective.
“We’re also very sad that a player will miss out on a major European final in circumstances such as this, as it is something that comes along very rarely in a footballer’s career.
“Micki will continue to be part of our preparations until we depart for Baku at the weekend.”
In a statement released on Instagram, Mkhitaryan, who scored in the 2017 final for Manchester United against Ajax, said: “Having considered all the current options, we had to take the tough decision for me not to travel with the squad to the Europa League final.
“It’s the kind of game that doesn’t come along very often for us players and I must admit, it hurst me a lot to miss it. I will be cheering my teammates on! Let’s bring it home.”
Honestly, this is a disgraceful situation and one that should make UEFA hang their collective heads in shame.
What a horrible situation although it does seem Arsenal/Mik are making the correct decision. We just can’t take the chances of a Dortmund type situation (bus attacked) or a supporter running onto the pitch after him (Martina Hingis being stabbed comes to mind). Have to imagine the crowd would be baying for him as well the whole game. UEFA should be ashamed, but unfortunately UEFA/FIFA have shown time and again they care about nothing but money.
This is absolutely pathetic and I totally blame the powers that be. From world cups in Qatar and Russia to finals in Azerbaijan and lots of brown paper envelopes filled with cash – these fucks will do anything to get an easy pay day. Fuck them. People need to start boycotting.
But yes, I totally agree otherwise.
Mate I completely take your point but not sure that it was Martina Hingis who was stabbed. Thought it was firstly Monica Seles back in the day and more recently Victoria Azarenka.
Still this whole situation and how Uefa have utterly mishandled it is just a disgrace. I can entirely understand why Mik, his family and the cub have come to this conclusion. His non participation although a big miss for us when we will already be missing Rambo is not worth the risk to his safety and to that of his team mates and our traveling party.
Yes- you’re right. It was Seles I was thinking of. My tennis knowledge is lacking!
No worries my friend, my sports knowledge might be above average but every other subject see’s me sitting in the corner with a dunce’s hat on my head! ?
This is outrageous.
I know I shouldn’t need to suggest this. But really, what if this was Aubameyang needed to be left behind?
Would the club’s stance be any different? Only time will tell how they react to this.
Do you understand how geopolitics works? Do you understand the tensions between Armenia and Azarbeijan? What on earth does Aubameyang have to do with this? But let’s play along… IF Arsenal was in a competition where the final was being played in either Equitorial Guinea, Cameroon or Congo and IF Gabon (where Auba is from) was in conflict with one of these countries… and found itself due to play in one of those countries, then it stands to reason that Arsenal would react in the same way.
Outside of this, I don’t understand that whatabout-ism of your post.
I think GunnAlex is posing the question: What if it was less shit player that had to stay behind?
A fair question.
Which I answered… but using the specific similarity comparison of the current situation.
Urgh… poorly constructed statement but I answered it in the context of Mkhi’s situation. Otherwise asking that question doesn’t make sense to me.
Mate, you obviously didn’t get the point. Put it like this: If Aubameyang was Armenian – and as such would be left out – would we act differently?
You mean disrespect the player’s and the player’s family’s decision to stay at home? I fkn hope not!
The point of Alex’s comment is this: each member of the traveling delegation (fans, players, and staff) should be entitled to the same level of protection in the host country as any other. If it were a player of higher stature, the non-partisan press would be more vocal on the issue.
That sport’s governing bodies continually select host venues with ridiculous human rights violations speaks to the blatant corruption within the system (FIFA, UEFA, even the IOC), and this is the latest example.
Shameful, disgraceful, despicable, low, blameworthy, shocking, scandalous, bad, vile, discreditable and outrageous decision from UEFA.
Apt adjectives and you could add more to describe UEFA.
It’s a fucking crime.
Shit news. Fuck Uefa.
In other news however, Swdens biggest newspaprr claims Freddie Ljungberg will replace Steve Bould as assistant coach for next season. Not sure hos to tip you all of about this bit hwre you go, usa Google translate!
Enter Dennis Bergkamp for his youth seat!!!
That bond villain statement by the azerbaijani ambassador is an absolute disgrace. i honestly think we should make a bloody stand and refuse to play in such circumstances. If this was a race issue for example and they said “raheem sterling is welcome so long as he accepts all crowd barracking, being treated with disrespect by everyone he meets and doesnt keep whining on about race.” the football world would be, rightly, apoplectic. this is essentially the same thing!
Except it’s not really the same thing at all
why isnt it? the situation is that he has been denied free speech, that would be the same situation if the ambassador of a nation state said the same thing before guaranteeing Sterling’s safety , i used race only to highlight other situations where a team might refuse to play and which people would understand. Mkhitaryan is going to get, at very least booed wildly every time he touches the ball for the crime of being born in a somewhere with, under these conditions, no recourse to respond. because if he scored and did a shhh sign the geovernment of… Read more »
for the crime of being born somewhere i meant to say sorry
Let’s not compare this to race. This is a political issue between 2 countries. Nothing more. Don’t exaggerate.
UEFA should’ve been more wise in their decision.
No country engaging in any kind of conflict should be allowed to host major footballing events.
I think it’s xenophobia, which is comparable to racism in my eyes and can have similar outcomes. For example what happened in Rwanda
I’m not justifying his treatment. But you know, the 2 countries have been at war. We can’t expect normal treatment for nationals of each country at the other end. It’s reality. UEFA should know better.
It becomes a racial/ethnic issue when a player is threatened because of his ethnicity. Mkhitaryan isn’t a participant in the conflict, he’s Armenian and for this reason he isn’t safe in Azerbaijan. Armenians in Azerbaijan suffer discrimination encouraged by the state, this state has no place holding competitions if it can’t host the competitors.
He wasn’t going to start but that’s irrelevant. A player should not be put in a position where he has to risk his security to play a game of football
1. The fact that he *definitely* won’t start will make Sarri far more confident as to Arsenal’s formation and game plan, so it makes the game easier to plan for Chelsea.
2. If only a substitute, he would very likely have come on, especially if game goes to extra time. Without him, we are far more stretched.
So even though he may not have started, his absence makes things harder for us.
Politics/greed invading football and winning. Sad
Why aren’t Arsenal and Chelsea boycotting this final?
UEFA would just expel them. There’s no way around this unfortunately. Although I’m gutted for Mikhi and disgusted with UEFA, the only way to win is on the pitch, to win it for Mikhi and give him and the whole team a huge reception when they get back. It can’t be easy for the rest of the team to go there either, but this team is good enough to win that trophy and although we won’t be there in person the team know that we’re supporting them every inch of the way. COYG! Fuck UEFA!
I’m sure the British government will rebuke the ambassador for his aggressive behaviour towards a resident of the UK. And UEFA will do the right thing and move the final. And pigs will fuck unicorns while flying over Wembley’s cup final a day after financial fair play sanctions are announced against the oil fc teams.
I can’t comment on the political background, but sport wise it’s not fair.
I really wonder what kind of impact will have to the squad. Can you imagine going somewhere to play and one of your co players cannot go because it’s not SAFE? THINK ABOUT IT!
You have to question these organizations (FIFA, UEFA) for staging major tournaments in
“places of unrest”
Baku is also going to be hosting games at Euro 2020. Good job Armenia didn’t qualify!
the fact that the crowd is probably going to be mostly locals as well makes this the most sensible decision, but a decision that shouldn’t need to be made and just shows how ridiculous UEFA are
No, it should make ARSENAL hang their heads. We should be thoroughly ashamed of ourselves. We did not back our own player. Had we said, “no Mkhi? Fine. No match.” Everything would’ve been different. We never even tried. I’ve never been so ashamed to be an Arsenal supporter as I am today.
Cut the crap.
Chelsea are such scum. Didn’t even release a statement regarding the ticket allocation.
Shame on them.
Selfish and self-centered perverts masquerading as sports administrators. They deserve every condemnation possible. It’s not only unfair to Micky as a football player, but equally unfair to the team as a whole in such high stake match. We will support the team no matter what, and hopefully they will back victorious.
Could the Arsenal players stage a protest in support of Micki?
Say… Black armbands with the #7 on them?
What are the UEFA rules regarding such a display?
Would that not go some way to antagonising the locals and put the rest of the team in the sort of situation they’re trying to avoid by not taking Mkhitaryan.
There is that, but it would also be sign of solidarity with their teammate as well as forcing UEFA to face up to this disgraceful circumstance.
To Arsenal fans traveling to Baku (if you really exist): we need to be singing Mhki’s name the entire game as loud as possible!
Why Baku is part of Europe is beyond me.
Its like Kazakhstan being part of Europe.
No offense to those countries but a bit bizarre frankly.
And if the (intolerance) is so bad that we can’t have an Armenian (again not part of Europe in my books) play safely, then there should be no reason why UEFA should have sanctioned a finals there.
Santori, your geography is bad. Baku is in Azerbaïdjan not Kazakhstan. However, I am with you. One day Morocco will be part of Europe.
The circumstances of this final reek through and through.
The thing is even if he decided to go, how would he perform under such conditions where you thought you could get beat up or worse by some savage? Staying at home makes sense in this respect but it is a disgrace that this decision even had to be made!!!
Get bent, Azerbaijan.
Disgraceful. UEFA should hang their head in shame starting with the choice of venue – especially since Instanbul was one of the three cities that applied, to ticket allocation, and now a player chose not to go because the nominal safety guarantees was unconvincing, insincere and the opposite of reassuring whatever the word might be. UEFA hollow words “we care about fans” is as meaningless as Arsenal management proclaiming Kroenke is passionate about the club.