Arsenal have expressed concern they have not received “acceptable guarantees” from Uefa that Armenian midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan will be safe to travel to Baku for the Europa League final, The Guardian reports.
When Arsenal played in Azerbaijan in their opening group game the Armenian midfielder was omitted because of the conflict between the countries over Nagorno Karabakh. There are no diplomatic relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia and Arsenal are disappointed they may be prevented from taking one of their players to a European final.
“The safety and security of our players is of paramount importance,” said an Arsenal spokesperson. “We are seeking guarantees from Uefa that it will be safe for Henrikh Mikhitaryan to travel to Baku for the Europa League final, which both Arsenal and Micki require for him to be included in our squad.
“Acceptable guarantees have not been received and we hope Uefa will be able to supply these promptly. We are hugely concerned the location of the final could lead to Micki not being able to play in a European final.”
Mkhitaryan came on for Mesut Özil in the semi-final second leg in Valencia and, with Aaron Ramsey unfit, Unai Emery would be keen to include him in the squad for the final against Chelsea on May 29. When Mkhitaryan did not travel to the Qarabag game the decision was mutual between player and club. There is a big difference, though, between sitting out the first group game and the final.
Uefa’s standard procedure is to send letters of support to associations, clubs, or embassies to facilitate visas for foreign travel if needed.