Henrikh Mkhitaryan set to miss Arsenal’s biggest game of the season.
Armenian born creative midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan is set to miss the Europa League final against Chelsea due to security fears.
Mkhitaryan who is captain for the Armenian national team has been advised not to play in the Europa League final with UEFA unable to guarantee the player’s safety whilst in the capital of Baku.
The 30-year-old attacking midfielder has missed previous games in Azerbaijan due to political tension between the two countries.
For example, back in 2015 Mkhitaryan didn’t travel with Borussia Dortmund to face Gabala and also did not travel earlier in the campaign when Arsenal played FK Qarabag both due to security fears for the player.
This latest development has lead to many fans and pundits questions why Baku was chosen as the host for Europe’s second biggest club competition.
With UEFA unable to guarantee Mkhitaryan’s safety during his stay in Baku people have questioned what the governing body of European football can do to maintain players safety.
Already this season UEFA has failed to protect players whilst in other countries with England’s national team suffering racist abuse whilst playing a Euro 2020 qualifier in Montenegro.
England stars Raheem Sterling, Callum Hudson-Odoiand Tottenham left-back Danny Rose received racist abuse during the game and sparked Sterling to state that the football authorities needed to take a ‘proper stance’ on racial abuse.
Montenegro was punished and now have to play their next Euro qualifier behind closed doors. However, some pundits and players have stated that the punishment isn’t enough to protect players from abuse.
Over the past week, queries have also been asked around the choosing of Baku as the host of the final.
For example, last week news broke that Arsenal and Chelsea would only be allowed 6000 fans each out of the 69000 capacity of the ground.
Fans fortunate enough to receive a ticket also have the 2850 mile trip to contend with and the fact that there will be no direct flights to Baku with the Foreign Office stating that ‘Terrorists are likely to try and carry out attacks in Azerbaijan.’
With fears both for players and supporters it begs the question of why was Baku chosen and is it even safe to host a final?