Arsenal plan UEFA meeting over Henrikh Mkhitaryan absence in Europa League final

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn

Arsenal plan to meet with UEFA to express their fury after Henrikh Mkhitaryan decided against playing in the Europa League final over security fears.

The Armenian’s safety was a concern because of the dispute between his country and Azerbaijan, the host nation of next week’s fixture between the Gunners and Chelsea.

Despite receiving assurances aimed at allaying those fears, Mkhitaryan has chosen not to travel to Baku following discussions with the club and his family.

Arsenal boss Unai Emery said he respected the “personal” nature of Mkhitaryan’s decision, but conceded it was “bad news” for his team.

But Arsenal managing director Vinai Venkatesham branded the situation “unacceptable” and revealed the club would make the full extent of their anger known to the governing body.

He was quoted as saying by a number of national newspapers: “I struggle to find words for how strongly I feel. We feel it’s unacceptable.

“We don’t feel he can travel and it’s extraordinarily sad. You don’t get a chance to play in major European finals often. Miki has had it taken away from him and it is an extraordinary shame.

“We made our point clearly to UEFA, we have written to them. We will also sit down with them face to face after the final and express how it is unacceptable and how it can never happen again to Arsenal or anyone.”

Mkhitaryan said he was “hurt” to miss the showpiece event.

He tweeted: “It’s the kind of game that doesn’t come along very often for us players and I must admit, it hurts me a lot to miss it.”

Emery revealed he had discussed the issue with Mkhitaryan, whom he said “wants to play with the team but spoke with his family and decided not to go”.

The Spaniard said: “It’s bad news, but we cannot do anything about these issues. 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).

“I spoke to him. I came from the Basque country, where we had a big political problem there, finishing five or six years ago. This is a very personal decision; I cannot push him to come with us.

“For him and for me, it’s very important to (have his) help with his quality and his capacity, but these issues are out of my hands and I understand 100 per cent.”

UEFA insisted that a “comprehensive security plan” was in place for Mkhitaryan, while the Association of Football Federations of Azerbaijan branded his decision not to play “unwarranted” and said the host country had “provided all the necessary guarantees” to ensure his safety.

An AFFA spokesperson said: “We very much regret this unwarranted decision taken, as we understand, collectively by Arsenal, the player and his family. 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. Over the past decade a large number of Armenian athletes have taken part in various international sports events in Azerbaijan without any issues. Finally, we believe that this regretful decision will not affect in any manner the quality and the attraction of this great match. We look forward to welcoming both teams in Baku shortly.”

Mkhitaryan’s absence, in addition to that of the injured Aaron Ramsey, who is departing for Juventus, increases Mesut Ozil’s hopes of starting at the Baku Olympic Stadium.

Like Ramsey, Petr Cech will not be at Arsenal next season, having taken the decision to retire at the age of 37, but Emery hinted that, despite losing his first-team place to Bernd Leno, the veteran goalkeeper is likely to start.

“Ozil has very big experience in Europe, playing with his national team, important games,” he said. “We are preparing for every player to be ready for the final. He’s working, he’s trying, he’s playing well and we need him.

“(Cech’s) here because he deserves to be here. His commitment to Arsenal is big. He was playing the last (Europa League) matches, perfect matches, with big performances. I want to enjoy with him this final in his career.”

Copy provided by Press Association Sport

Recommended

Most popular

See Arsenal boss Unai Emery react to Henrikh Mkhi­taryan absence for Europa League final

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Henrikh Mkhitaryan of Arsenal celebrates a goal.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan will not be involved in the Europa League final after Arsenal confirmed he would not travel with the squad.

Arsenal head coach Unai Emery said that he respects midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s decision not travel to Azerbaijan for the UEFA Europa League final against Chelsea.

“It’s bad news, but we can’t do anything for these issues. It’s very personal and we need to respect him,” Emery said on Tuesday

The Armenia international’s safety was a concern due to the dispute between his country and host nation Azerbaijan.


There have been no diplomatic relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the conflict in the Nagorono-Karabkh region.







Emery’s sentiment was echoed by players Alex Iwobi and Stephan Lichtsteiner with both eager to win the club’s first Europa League title for their absent team-mate.



Most popular

Vincent Kompany takes to stage one last time for Man City during emotional parade

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Everton

Vincent Kompany said he had “given everything” to Manchester City as he bade an emotional farewell to the club in front of 100,000 fans.

The long-serving captain announced on Sunday he was leaving City after 11 successful years to take up the role of player-manager at Anderlecht.

Consequently the 33-year-old was the star of the show as City celebrated this season’s historic treble with an open-top bus parade through Manchester city centre on Monday.

Speaking as the parade culminated with a stage show outside Manchester Cathedral, the Belgian said: “I’ve given everything I could for this club. I can’t tell you how proud of that I am. I have nothing left. I have given everything.”

Kompany’s future had been the subject of speculation for some time but he realised the time was right to leave when he scored a spectacular winner against Leicester earlier this month.

Kompany’s long-range strike, in their penultimate game of the season, took City within one game of retaining their Premier League title.

He said: “The moment that ball against Leicester went ‘top bins’ I knew I was done! I couldn’t do anything better. It felt right.”

The Belgian now expects the club to go on to even greater success in the future.

Kompany, who ended his speech with a ‘mic drop’, said: “Eleven years at this club, what a journey we’ve been on. We were always a great club without silverware but now we’ve got silverware and I’m really proud.

“This group of players – we’ve given you something you deserved for a long time. Now this team is ready to achieve so much more.”

Kompany won 10 major trophies during his time with City, culminating with Saturday’s FA Cup final victory over Watford.

Manager Pep Guardiola paid tribute to his captain and tipped him to return to City in some capacity in the future.

He said: “I think we’re going to miss him a lot. I’m going to miss him but he is going to see us in the future because he is coming back sooner or later.

“It’s the best way to say goodbye after an incredible season together. He was a real captain, he helped us a lot. We’re going to show him how we love him.”

Guardiola, who was wearing a flat cap in tribute to the late Bernard Halford, the club’s life president who died recently, said he had thought “zero” about next season.

He said: “Now it’s time to have good food, good wine and enjoy this incredible season together. In a few weeks we are going to think about it. Now we are going to enjoy what we have done.”

Organisers of the event estimated the crowd to be around 100,000. Banners branded City as ‘The Fourmidables’, reflecting their treble of Premier League, FA Cup and Carabao Cup along with the Community Shield.

It was the first time any side had completed a clean sweep of all the domestic trophies. City were also joined by their victorious women’s side, who won an FA Cup and League Cup double.

Most popular