Mkhitaryan to miss Europa League final

22 Mai, 2019, 03:25 | Auteur: Adelaide Bullion
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"It's the kind of game that doesn't come along very often and I admit, it hurts a lot to miss it".

The Chelsea legend admitted both players would have been useful in Baku due to their ability to break the opposition down and stressed their key contributions that helped the team to the final this term.

Maurizio Sarri's men will lock horns with rivals Arsenal in the Europa League final in Baku next week, as they aim to cap off a satisfactory season with silverware.

"We are also very sad a player will miss out on a major European final in circumstances such as this., as it is something that comes along very rarely".

Arsenal said Tuesday it reached the decision following discussions with the midfielder and his family and after "thoroughly" exploring all the options available.

Azerbaijan routinely bars entry to anyone who has visited that region, which Mkhitaryan has done on several occasions on charity drives, but was willing to make an exception for him.

Arsenal had made its safety concerns known to the Union of European Football Associations in recent weeks, since the UEFA was responsible for choosing Baku as the location for the final.

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This season has seen Kante play slightly further forward under Sarri, with him providing four goals and four assists in 36 Premier League games, while playing a further 16 games in the Europa League, Carabao Cup and FA Cup.

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

Arsenal had been in discussion with UEFA in the hope that a security strategy could be put in place, but the 30-year-old has been unsuccessful in obtaining the necessary assurances over his safety.

Azerbaijan's Ambassador to the UK, Mr Tahir Taghizadeh, had insisted Mkhitaryan would be free from any threat of violence, but it was reported the star did not believe he would be safe on the pitch.

The Spaniard said at his press conference: "It's bad news, but I can not do anything about this issue. It should really be stripped of the 2019 Europa League final, except so many involved seem to accept it is already too late for that", said The Independent.

Armenian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Anna Naghdalian on May 21 cited reports that Arsenal's ethnic Armenian ticket holders have been barred from entering Azerbaijan.

"In this regard, the refusal of Azerbaijan to provide such guarantees and a ban on the entry of alleged fans of Armenian origin is nothing but a new manifestation of racism, and this calls into question the holding of similar global events in Azerbaijan", she added. Deadly fighting breaks out intermittently. No country has recognized it as an independent state.

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