Arsenal football club have confirmed that Henrikh Mkhitaryan will miss the Europa League final, not because he is injured but because his safety cannot be guaranteed.
This shocking decision is purely the fault of UEFA and sets a dangerous precedent for future games at all levels under the auspices of Europe’s governing body.
This is the official statement from Arsenal
We are very disappointed to announce that Henrikh Mkhitaryan will not be travelling with the squad for our Uefa Europa League final against Chelsea.
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.
We have written to Uefa expressing our deep concerns about this situation. 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.
Micki will continue to be part of our preparations until we depart for Baku at the weekend.
To force a club to leave a player at home because his safety cannot be guaranteed is huge and begs the question, how can UEFA select a location where this is even a possibility?
To disadvantage one team over another for non-footballing reasons is outrageous and that is exactly what has occurred here and it is 100% because UEFA chose to host the final in Azerbaijan.
Now, we all know Mkhitaryan has not been in the best of form and admittedly if he was not selected as a starter we would not have been surprised, but make no mistake, this hands a huge advantage to Chelsea.
Mkhitaryan could easily turn it on, he has that ability and on his day can be unplayable and would have been a serious option for us as either a starter or from the subs bench.
Imagine if Chelsea were forced to leave Pedro, Kante or whoever at home simply because of the location of a final, what if it was Messi, Ronaldo, Mbappe or Neymar, I mean, the consequences of this can be far reaching.
There are political hotspots all over Europe, Russia and Ukraine, Spain with internal issues with both Catalan and the Basque Region, this is the sort of precedent that can be used in the future, all that has to be done is not guarantee a players safety.
The second a team is disadvantaged because of the fault of the host then UEFA has a moral obligation to relocate that particular game if it wants to maintain any sense of fairness.
This is a very dark day for football and that feeling has been shared by fans on social media and they are not a happy bunch.
Arsenal should be point blank refusing to play in that final over Mkhitaryan and Chelsea should support them doing so. An absolute shambles.
— Ciarán Stafford (@CiaranStaff95) May 21, 2019
It’s disgraceful that a football player feels he has to give up playing in a European final due to security. @UEFA should be ashamed but they don’t give a toss because the money will keep rolling in and into the little brown envelopes. #Mkhitaryan #EuropaLeague #CORRUPTION
— Steven Kettle (@stekettle) May 21, 2019
A complete and utter shambles that @UEFA would pick Baku as their location for a final regardless of mkhitaryan issue. Embarrassing that a player doing his job can't even travel with his club to a European final
— Ryan O'Lone (@RyanOlone) May 21, 2019
Rivalry aside. The fact "Henrikh Mkhitaryan" cannot play a European cup final because of UEFA's greed and poor planning is an utter disgrace.
This along side the fact many fans can't get to see their teams play just shows that UEFA do not care for the fans, just their pockets
— Morgan.🏴 🇮🇪 SlawXXVI (@SlawXxvi) May 21, 2019
No matter what I think of Mkhitaryan on the pitch, not being able to be part of a final because a country can’t guarantee his safety is beyond shameful and shows @UEFA how incompetent an organisation they are. The governing body of European football?! You are a joke.
— 🗑 (@TFC2910) May 21, 2019
That mkhitaryan scenario is a farce isn’t it. Too late in the day with fans paying money but they should boycott the whole fucking lot.
— AK 🚂 (@kearnsyLFC) May 21, 2019