UEFA: Mkhitaryan’s Baku absence a ‘personal decision’

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Following Arsenal’s announcement that Henrikh Mkhitaryan will not travel to Baku for the Europa League final, UEFA have insisted that the Armenian’s absence is due to a ‘personal decision’ that they ‘respect’.

In a statement released this afternoon, they say:

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.

It overlooks their role in this, in typical style they’ve batted away the responsibility to the player.

The fact is that holding a final in a location where any player on any team might be excluded for political reasons,  or because they fear for their own safety – and by extension the safety of teammates and staff – is simply wrong on every level.

This is not on Arsenal, it’s not on Mkhitaryan, it’s 100% on UEFA.

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SB Still
SB Still

“This is not on Arsenal, it’s not on Mkhitaryan, it’s 100% on UEFA.” – Thats your personal decision to blame it on UEFA but something I support.

A Gorilla
A Gorilla

Captain irrelevant strikes again

IamaGoober

Fairly mental to think in 2019 a professional player cant go play football in a specific country due to international relations.

I’m still waiting for the UEFA PR campaign on TV where Zlatan looks directly into the camera lens and say in Swedish

‘No to Racism’

Then walks out of shot, only to reappear seconds later, all sweaty, nervously ruffling through small sized cue cards, clears his throat, and says ..

..’but excluding Azerbaijan, its totally fine there.. oh and parts of West London, specifically the Matthew Harding lower’

Stefan
Stefan

UEFA IS CORRUPT !! THIS EUROPA LEAGUE FINAL SHOULD BE MOVED TO ANOTHER LOCATION LIKE FRANCE, GERMANY, HOLLAND, ITALY OR RUSSIA – THESE COUNTRIES HAVE A LOT MORE DEMOCRACY THAN AZERBAIJAN – THIS EUROPA LEAGUE FINAL IS A JOKE AND THE ONES THAT DECIDED TO HOLD IT THERE ARE ALL JOKERS / VILLAINS !!

Matt
Matt

“we respect the personal decision not to travel with the player.”

Sounds like it’s Arsenal’s ‘personal’ decision not to take ‘the player’. Weird wording. Not sure why it’s worded like that or what they’re implying.

Lettra
Lettra

Covering their asses .. is what they’re doing. This response was expected we all know what they are.

Mpls
Mpls

They’re implying they’re fucking cowards who are trying to pass the blame to the club and the player for their major fundamental fuckup.

Pooner
Pooner

The audacity of these cunts. It’s almost admirable.

Cliff Bastin
Cliff Bastin

Is the rest of the team at risk due to Arsenal having an Armenian on the books though?

Absolute stupid venue choice by Uefa.

Hantal
Hantal

They’ve washed their hands of the situation

goonero
goonero

That’s really how it comes across, we’ve left Mhkitaryan on his own here.

I don’t know how fair this is to do, but it makes it seem like Arsenal have said “our participation in this game, the rewards from it, and our continued positive relationship with UEFA and pals, is more important to us than any one of our players basic human rights”.

How would the club have responded if Lacazette or Aubameyang or both of them were in Mhkis position? How ready would we have been to leave those two behind?

goonero
goonero

To better illustrate my point:

Would the club have considered being forced to play in a final without Bergkamp or Henry?

Would Barcelona do it without Messi?

Would PSG do it without Neymar or Mbappe?

Would Spurs do it without Son or Kane?

Call me cynical, but I think the answers obvious, there would be a fuck of a lot more resistance if not outright refusal of such conditions. The importance of the player to the teams fortunes or their global stature shouldn’t be a consideration to the club’s stance on issues of this nature. I just feel like a very wrong precedent has been set…

John C
John C

I totally agree with you that there would be more fuss.

Can you imagine if you swapped the word Armenian with black or women for instance and they weren’t safe to travel to a country for a European cup final, it would be front page news.

There should be much more coverage of this.

goonero
goonero

That’s exactly what I mean, the issue should be the principles, not the size or the perceived importance of the group afflicted right?

If instead of Armenians it was all English people would we even be having this fucking discussion?

assistantref
assistantref

Yep. We’ve rolled over and decided to hang our player out to dry because we really need the money.

See how the club is parroting UEFA’s “personal decision” nonsense and trying to brush the whole thing under the rug. It’s all being made out like it’s just down to Mikhi and he doesn’t want to play so nobody can do anything about it.

It’s disgraceful.

Naked Cygan
Naked Cygan

Last year we couldn’t play Abu in Europe for BS reasons, now this with Mkhi? we can never catch a break!! FFS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Harish Hirani
Harish Hirani

What a bunch of absolute cunts UEFA are.

Amusa
Amusa

Would absolutely love Arsenal to release a statement mentioning it wasn’t a choice and how it is UEFA’s fault. We should mention the thinly veiled threat that was given as well yesterday.

Flying Dutchman
Flying Dutchman

Which threat was that?

assistantref
assistantref

I too dream for a world where Arsenal is owned and managed by people with any sort of courage and integrity. Alas, it’s only a dream.

Keeping it Monreal
Keeping it Monreal

I’d love to see arsenal to go to town on UEFA. These cunts are completely incapable of apologising or even acknowledging they’ve made a horrendous call. Stubborn and corrupt cunts. Have I mentioned UEFA are a bunch of cunts?

Glasgow_Gooner
Glasgow_Gooner

Personal decision as in he doesn’t want to risk getting his head kicked in to play game of football.

Shameful Uefa, putting it on him.

DAVID BLASCZYK
DAVID BLASCZYK

It’s a personal decision he shouldn’t have to make. He should part of the squad, involved in one of the biggest games of his career. Instead he has to miss out because of UEFA’s clear lack of understanding, care and foresight.

Gus Caesar
Gus Caesar

Sadly, I think we all know that once this has all washed over UEFA will carry on doing the same things over and again. But i’m not sure that enough focus is being given to the fact that our then Chief Executive was part of the committee that made the decision. I don’t hear Arsenal saying that Gazidis was against the idea at the time either…

CuriousGeorgeGraham
CuriousGeorgeGraham

Let’s also acknowledge that this is on the country of Azerbaijan for not creating a safe, tolerant environment — and in fact, purposefully curating an intolerant space for Armenians.

Of course, it’s on UEFA as well. Armenia are part of UEFA as well… what’s the plan if an Armenian team reached the final?

goonero
goonero

I know I said this yesterday, but I thought it was strange how during this shitfest, not a single report was made about how going to a final in Azerbaijan personally affected Mhki. No discussion of what his family might think of it, no consideration of what his fellow countrymen might think of it.

Can you imagine getting “special dispensation” to travel to a country who’s sentiments against your people are so fierce that in the very recent history they awarded a medal of honour to a man for beheading someone from your country?

It’s unfair for athletes to have to carry any political burden, that’s not part of their job. But unfortunately, I think we live in age where these things can’t be separated anymore. Mhki going to Baku would have been seen as tacit endorsement of all the wrongs wrought against his people, and of UEFAs feckless greed. I’m glad he’s made the decision he has. I honestly wish Arsenal had backed him and followed his decision. Bloggs talks about cognitive dissonance, and this is just one such example.

Mpls
Mpls

Wait, how did Arsenal not back Mkhi’s decision? He posted that he decided not to go after discussing it with his family, correct? Arsenal has honored that.

goonero
goonero

The club’s stance supports Mhkitaryans decision not to go somewhere he isn’t welcomed. That’s a very different thing from demanding that the player shouldn’t even have to have this concern in the first place. They’re supporting how Mhkitaryan has chosen to deal with the problem and not addressing the problem itself.

The club could demand the venue be moved or threaten to boycott the final. They could demand ensurance that something like this never be allowed happen again. There’s so many things the club could and should have done to put a lot more pressure on UEFA for creating this problem.

But like it or not, Mhkitaryan and Armenians don’t mean more to the club than good relationships, financial and public, with UEFA. When you strip it down to the bare bones that’s the crux of it.

Mpls
Mpls

This isn’t the Club’s doing. It’s UEFA and corrupt governments. Blaming the club is misdirection.

shokim
shokim

I support Micki’s decision. It’s all on UEFA 200%.

Giovani
Giovani

Fuck Off UEFA!

David C
David C

Blogs said only 3000 Arsenal tickets sold and about 600 Chelsea tickets. Is the stadium going to be half-empty for a European final? So sad…Talksport reporting that half the tickets could be returned…

Great work yet again by UEFA…

Fatgooner
Fatgooner

Have you heard? Uefa have decided to hold next year’s final in Damascus.

A Different George
A Different George

I didn’t see many Dortmund matches, but it seemed he scored every time I did. He looked a great attacking player, either alone or with a strike partner like Lewandowski. I am not surprised how well he has done. It is Lacazette who has surprised me–I thought he was a quite good but pretty limited player, a good finisher and penalty taker and not much more. Completely wrong–very good hold-up play, a fine dribbler, good presser, intelligent runs, etc. This is probably the best strike partnership in England, with the possible exception of Aguero/Sterling.

assistantref
assistantref

By rolling over and just letting them do it, it’s on us too, not just UEFA. Just more proof we’re run by a bunch of limp-wristed cowards.

Redbaron
Redbaron

I’d like Arsenal and Chelsea to take the personal decision of not sending any team member to Baku.

A Different George
A Different George

This is exactly the kind of crap statement that institutions like UEFA (and not just in sports) have perfected. It is, more or less, true–but it leaves out the point: “We have created this intolerable situation, and now it is impossible to find a good solution. So, you make your own decision, it’s your choice.”

Topside Smudger
Topside Smudger

Utterly shameless.

Almost beyond belief until you remember this is UEFA we’re talking about.

Mustafa chemal
Mustafa chemal

You can’t play those countries when you know they hate you and snipers kiling your country soldiers every 2 months

Chris O
Chris O

Fuck these guys.

Hi-brid
Hi-brid

Yeah, I also make a “personal decision” not to jump into the lion enclosure when I go to the zoo. I’m a bit fussy like that.

The only sp*rs i like is san antonio
The only sp*rs i like is san antonio

It’s not like a burglar will admit right away that he stole something, right

Futsboller
Futsboller

Man, we love us some money.

Bai Blagoi
Bai Blagoi

“Do It For Aaron.”
And now also: “Do It for Micki”

COYG

Badaab
Badaab

A personal decision to not put self in physical danger because of the repressive political situation in a country which likely bribed UEFA for this event. The same event which will lend credence to the regime in charge of Azerbaijan on the international stage for European investment and legitimize the behaviors of same country’s government.
UEFA are garbage, and this is just another example of the type corruption and avarice that are ruining not only football, but the planet as a whole.

Chrispy
Chrispy

Cunts!

Teryima Adi
Teryima Adi

And money continue to talk..

For Gods Sake
For Gods Sake

Go to the final and win it. Then refuse to pick up the cup and say why live on international TV. That would make a point