Sunday, June 16, 2024

Kos and Vinai go in two footed on UEFA

Laurent Koscielny says UEFA should not have given Azerbaijan the responsibility of hosting the Europa League final given the country has no diplomatic relations with another country within its jurisdiction.

Yesterday, Arsenal confirmed that Henrikh Mkhitaryan will not travel to Baku for Wednesday’s final because the midfielder’s status as a high-profile Armenian could put him in danger. Tensions between Azerbaijan and Armenia continue to simmer due to a dispute over the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

UEFA responded by stating the decision was a ‘personal’ one and that a plan had been put in place to ensure the player’s stay in Azerbaijan was safe.

“I am not very happy,” club captain Koscielny told BBC 5Live at yesterday’s media day.

“First because we need to leave one player here, because he can’t play in the final.

“I think Uefa needs to know about the different problems they can have with the politics in the country. When one country has a problem with another they should not give the final to that country.

“For us it is difficult because we want to have Micki with us. He is an important player for us.”

Mkhitaryan took to social media to air his disappointment. Later in the day, managing director Vinai Venkatesham, speaking at the FT Business of Football summit expressed his annoyance and promised that the club would demand a face-to-face meeting with UEFA officials.

Earlier this week, the club and UEFA traded open letters which also tackled the ridiculous logistical issues that Arsenal and Chelsea fans are facing just to get to Baku.

“It is not our decision or Henrikh’s but one we made together,” he said.

“We don’t feel he can travel to a major European final and that’s extraordinarily sad. He has had that opportunity taken away from him, one that is a rare opportunity for any player.

“We’re losing the opportunity of having him to help us win a major trophy. It’s an extraordinary shame. All we can really do is make our point very clearly to Uefa. After the final we will explain to them why it’s unacceptable and must avoid it happening to Arsenal or any other club ever again.”

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UEFA’s reply: “$$$$ $$$ $$$ $$$$$$ $$$ $$$$ $$$$”


Well, it’s basically our reply too. It’s why we aren’t actually doing anything about it besides promising to send a strongly worded letter afterwards.


The $$$ that the winning team gets is legal, above the board, and goes to the team’s coffers.
The $$$ that officials may get for awarding a final to unlikely countries would not be so and mostly going to individual pockets.
So a huge difference there.


Love how they package the decision to hold it in Baku as footballing diversity. But then turning this into an exclusionary one, then turning a deaf ear to those they excluded, followed by PR’ing it using ignorance.

Well done UEFA.


Wonder what would’ve happened if a team from Armenia qualified to play in the final


Wonder what would have happened if Messi was to play the final

A Different George

Amnesty International describes Azerbaijan’s staging of international football matches as an attempt to “sportswash its appalling human rights record.” It’s much worse than just the conflict with Armenia:


I am surprised what is all this noise about since the Romanian athletes have been visiting this country. Alot of US, British, .

25 Armenian athletes participated in the European games in 2015.

We have to remember that the two countries exchanged blows in 2016 when 200 people died. So, it is better for Miki to stay home because violence and football sometimes go hand in hand. (IMO)

I hope our players don’t make any statements which turn the crowd against us in a foreign country. Since recently, we have seen them crumble when the crowd was hostile.


I would have preferred the use of the phrase “UEFA are just a bunch of c*nts” a few times in their interviews.


Sokratis should have done the interview- I’d imagine he’s quite direct


Arsenal’s response should’ve just been a GIF of “wanking motion”

David M

So much for “Kick it Out”


Absolute shambles from UEFA.
Now waiting for Kim Jong-Un to put in a bid to host next ‘European’ final in North Korea.
At the end of the day all UEFA & FIFA care about is $$$. Sure, it’ll be all forgotten about soon enough, huh?

Gus Caesar

Yep, by most people. And that’s the problem, it’s a storm in a teacup to UEFA. The only way that things will genuinely change is if people pressure them at the right time, continuously and collectively.


Pyongyang is easier to get to


How about the fans get a petition going to voice our disgust at this action by the supposedly “fair” uefa?

Also, perhaps a boycott of UEFA ALL away games by our supporters next season.


Or boycott all companies that sponsor UEFA. That would really hurt their pockets


Official UEFA Europa League Partners:
KIA motors
Enterprise Rent-a-car
Hankook Tyres

Champions League:
Mastercard / Expedia Group


Heineken and Amstel are of course InBev / Anheuser Busch.
Best way to stick it to them is to drink local beers- and tell them you’re doing so.

Hankook: Laufenn, Aurora / RouteMaster, Kingstar / Road Fit

KIA is Hyundai Motor Group

Gus Caesar

It was a ludicrous decision to choose Baku for the final and we’re seeing the consequences of it now – fans who can’t see the team they love through the ridiculous travel demands or not being given visas and a player who can’t play because of politics. This is wrong, absolutely. But the decision to play the final in Baku was taken a long time ago and was partly the fault of our very own Chief Executive at the time. As ever with these kind of things, they only gain traction among the fans and with the media when it… Read more »


Nobody knows how Gazidis voted in that decision. He may well have opposed Baku as a venue, but was in the minority. Don’t make things up, there’s enough of that in the media.

Gus Caesar

I haven’t made up a word so stop trying to twist what people have written. I have no idea who voted for it, nobody does because the voting is never released. What is released is that it was the collective decision of the Executive Committee. And Gazidis was part of that. Hence he is partly responsible for the decision because he was part of the Committee that made it. As an aside, if you genuinely think Gazidis strongly opposed it and Arsenal are just not mentioning it that now through forgetfulness, then you don’t know how these things work and… Read more »


Some backbone shown by Kos and Vinai at least.


Let’s not forget that Qatar is going to host a World Cup Finals – the country at odds with Saudi Arabia and most of its neighbours because of its support for terrorism

Eric Blair

Saudi and Qatar, in disagreement over who funds the most terrorism.

This is happening all the time now, FIFA were lucky Ukraine didn’t qualify for the World Cup last year. Would Israel be welcome next time? Qatar could be in conflict with a qualifying nation by 2022. What about the 2020 host countries, and what about the ridiculous carbon footprint of it all? We should remember however that this is nothing new for football authorities, they’ve always been corrupt and have held World Cups in countries with brutal military dictatorships.


The fact that it happened for this event, and has happened in previous events, doesn’t mean that it inevitably follows that it has set an immovable precedent.
The fact that the geopolitical dynamics are increasingly complex, doesn’t mean that we can’t use a moral compass and that contingency plans aren’t in place.
Throwing your arms up and bemoaning difficult realities is an excuse for inertia.

Danger Mouse

The idea that Saudi Arabia is opposed to terrorism is rather hilarious. Just saying.


After the event is pointless

Kwame Ampadu Down

It is in some ways pointless after the event……but to be fair to the club…..if the club feel there is a concern over Mkhi’s safety (& I believe they are right there is) then lashing out at UEFA / Azerbaijan now might lead to safety concerns for the rest of the squad / backroom team / Arsenal fans heading over there.
I think it is hard to listen to Arsenal’s response & not think it’s a bit weak but it is a very difficult situation they are in.
The whole thing is absolutely shit.


If it would at least make uefa consider more carefully future host’s then it wouldn’t be pointless,but then we all know they don’t care


Great way to build up public hostility towards us in Baku 🙁
I am pragmatic over this issue, it’s not like Mikhi was going to be our saviour in the final, then why create all this unproductive and unnecessary noise before our most important game for the past 4-5 seasons ?
Much like protesting refferee over a yellow card there’s absolutely nothing to gain from this and a lot to lose.


Imagine if the ref sent a player off just based on his nationality…


So your argument is “If something is unjust keep your mouth shut as it could get worse”…? Genius and not at all cowardly…


Some people’s approach to life is, if it doesn’t benefit me, why do it?

Kid getting beaten up on the streets by a thug … why help? What if I get injured? Nothing to gain from this (except maybe thanks from the kid), but a lot to lose (maybe lose a tooth or a lot of blood).

I can see where arsenal74 is coming from, but I absolutely detest such cowardice


it’s not cowardice, we should have used other channels to express our discontent not through players who can be easily targeted during the upcoming game. Their minds should be focused at football now and not at events which exceeds their influence and capabilities. Especially as the deed is done .


Yes, why not keep quiet and not protest at an obvious wrong. Doing so may upset someone who has distasteful views and an overly-sensitive disposition.
Can’t be having that, can we.


How about this:
– Arsenal & Chelsea play a ‘friendly’ wth their first teams at Wembley an hour or two before Baku kickoff
– Both teams send a reserve squad to Baku. Which coincidentally and conveniently just happen to play out the same result as the ‘friendly’

Not technically a boycott, so UEFA can’t penalise. Loads of fans get to see the final at Wembley. Mkhi gets to play and we have collectively stuck it to UEFA

Would never happen. Would love to see it though


Totally radical but I dig it. Would have a slap to UEFA’ S face but given that it would undermine UEFA’ s authority, both would be punished harshly.


Better to do that and not play out the reserve squad game in Baku, to avoid getting fucked by the match fixing rules!


If you don’t like it you should have found a different hobby long ago

Thierry Bergkamp

How exactly does Uefa ensure a players safety?


Bring a box of yellow cards and referee whistles


Perhaps they meant INsure, they’d just pay us and the family off under the table if something bad were to happen.

You know, the way they do everything.


Aren’t there any other corrupt shit holes UEFA could move this to so they could make up for the loss of the dodgy dealings done with Azerbaijan?


Would be immensely proud of the club if we boycott the final

Jason daniels

We need mkhi quick attack. Now we stuck with over payed under playing ozil 🙁 f..k uefa i personally feel as thou eufa need to realise this sport onkt exist because of the fans. If u cannot keep fans happy then we should boycott this match as gooners


Mkhi is no big loss.

This is a deliberate ploy to distract simple minded fools from the fact we don’t have a Technical director in place.

DB10s Air Miles

What are you talking about? What is this mad conspiracy you’ve come up with? Are you seriously suggesting that the club have only made this an issue to detract from the fact that a backroom appointment hasn’t been made?



What we need is a Technical Director to replace old Hit and Msislintat.

What’s going on there.

We should be trying to lure Luis Campos from Lille not bringing in a relative greenhorn in Edu so Sanlehi can feel less threatened.

Plus Venkatasham seems to lack clout over Raul.

Don’t quite like the dynamics. Would have preferred Gazidis frankly calling the shots.

Crash Fistfight

You’re not fooling me. The real santori doesn’t use a capital S.


Not to be cynical or whatever but with the slightest possibility that uefa bans City from the CL next season, let’s hope that laying it on thick about us having to leave mhki out makes them donate city’s place to us if, God forbid, we could of done with mkhi in Baku.


“All we can really do is make our point very clearly to Uefa. After the final we will explain to them why it’s unacceptable and must avoid it happening to Arsenal or any other club ever again.” No, that isn’t all we can do. You’re not willing to do anything that would actually matter, but that doesn’t mean we couldn’t have. We could have refused to play the game there, and we could have called on Chelsea to stand with us, which they might actually do in the circumstances because it would shame them as much as UEFA if they… Read more »

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