Friday, 10 May 2019

Mkhitaryan May Not Play Europa Final In Azerbaijan Because He Is Armenian

Arsenal face a dilemma over whether to apply for a visa for Henrikh Mkhitaryan after reaching the Europa League final against Chelsea in Baku, Azerbaijan

Armenia captain Mkhitaryan has missed games in Azerbaijan for Arsenal and former club Dortmund in recent years.

There are no diplomatic relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan because of a longstanding conflict over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.

The all-English final is scheduled for Wednesday, 29 May (20:00 BST).

While playing for Borussia Dortmund in 2015, Mkhitaryan, 30, did not travel for a Europa League tie against Azerbaijan Premier League side Gabala because of security concerns.

And he also missed Arsenal's 3-0 Europa League win at FK Qarabag in October, with manager Unai Emery saying "he cannot travel here", despite Uefa offering their support over a visa application.

Qarabag head coach Gurban Gurbanov claimed Arsenal had "tried to save" Mkhitaryan from the "pressure" of playing in Azerbaijan.

"If Henrikh Mkhitaryan would come to Azerbaijan it is not the first time - a lot of Armenian sportsmen came to Azerbaijan but it is the choice of Arsenal that they didn't send him.

"Arsenal may be afraid that in front of 60,000 Azerbaijani fans, Mkhitaryan has some pressure and that is why they didn't send Mkhitaryan."

When asked if Mkhitaryan would travel to Azerbaijan to play in the final should Arsenal reach that stage, Emery has previously said: "It's a long time for us to arrive at the final.

"We are working to prepare for the next matches."

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