Football

Arsenal Hoping Mkhitaryan Can Travel To Europa League Final Despite Violence Threat

Arsenal Hoping Mkhitaryan Can Travel To Europa League Final Despite Violence Threat

Arsenal are seeking assurances from UEFA that Henrikh Mkhitaryan's safety will not be at risk should he travel to Baku for the Europa League final.

Mkhitaryan's native country Armenia have been in conflict with host nation Azaerbaijan since the late 1980's over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region. Diplomatic relations between the two states are non-existent as a result, with citizens from both unable to receive visas to enter the other.

There are fears that should Mkhitaryan travel to the country for the final, he could be a target of potential violence. He has missed two previous fixtures in the country for this reason, earlier this season against FK Qarabag, and also for Borussia Dortmund in 2015.

However Arsenal are hoping that he will not be force to miss out this time around, and are putting pressure on UEFA to ensure the player is not under threat.

A club spokesperson said:

The safety and security of all of our players is of paramount importance.

We are seeking guarantees from UEFA that it will be safe for Henrikh Mkhitaryan 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.

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Of course, the decision to hold the final in a country where individuals from certain nations are unable to enter should be questioned. This far from the only questionable decision the organisations has made in relation to Europa League and Champions League finals in recent times.

Arsenal and Chelsea are set to receive a measly 6,000 tickets each for the game, with the remaining 56,000 tickets going to the UEFA's 'football family'.

This is another decision Arsenal are disputing, and are currently in negotiations to receive a larger proportion of tickets.

UEFA claim the decision was made to hand out so few tickets as the Baku airport can only cater for around 15,000 foreign supporters, raising even further questions about their selection criteria.

SEE ALSO: When Will UEFA Realise That The Game Will Die Without Real Football Fans?

Gary Connaughton

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