Arsenal confirm Henrikh Mkhitaryan will miss Europa League final.

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Arsenal midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan will not play in the Europa League final against Chelsea on 29 May.

After considering several options, the Gunners finally confirm the Armenian international will not be taking part in the final in Baku.

“We have thoroughly explored all the options for Micki to be part of the squad but after discussing this with Micki and his family we have collectively agreed he will not be in our travelling party,” read an Arsenal statement.

“Micki has been a key player in our run to the final so this is a big loss for us from a team perspective.

“We’re also very sad that a player will miss out on a major European final in circumstances such as this, as it is something that comes along very rarely in a footballer’s career.”

It is understood the ex-Borussia Dortmund star, 30, feared for his safety on the pitch in Baku, Azerbaijan.

“Having considered all current options, we had to take the tough decision for me not to travel with the squad to the Europa League final,” said Mkhitaryan.

“It’s the kind of game that doesn’t come along very often and I admit, it hurts a lot to miss it.”

Mkhitaryan has missed club matches played in Azerbaijan in the past, as a result of political tensions between Azerbaijan and Armenia.

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

Both Uefa and the Arzebaijan FA has since responded.

Uefa issued a response to Arsenal with a statement that said: “Working alongside Arsenal FC, Uefa sought and received assurances regarding the player’s safety in Azerbaijan from the highest authorities in 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 matter, we respect the personal decision not to travel with the player.”

The Azerbaijan FA (AFFA) expressed their disappointment with the player’s decision to not travel.

It said: “We very much regret this unwarranted decision taken. Whilst we recognise the right to make a personal decision not to travel, we would like to reiterate that as the host country Azerbaijan has provided all the necessary guarantees required by Uefa to ensure the personal safety of Mr Mkhitaryan.

“There is no reason whatsoever to put in question the seriousness of these guarantees provided by Azerbaijan.”

Arsenal manager Unai Emery said: “He wants to play with the team, but he spoke with his family and decided not to go.

“It’s a very, very personal decision and we need to respect him. I don’t understand the political problems but I must respect his decision.”

Arsenal, who finished fifth in the Premier League, will qualify for next season’s Champions League if they beat Chelsea.

It would be their first European trophy since they won the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1994.

 

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