Why is Henrikh Mkhitaryan not playing for Arsenal in Europa League final against Chelsea?

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ARSENAL have reached the Europa League final in Baku!

But there have been a number of question marks over whether one of their players would be able to feature.

Mkhitaryan is currently not allowed to enter Azerbaijan
Getty – Contributor

Henrikh Mkhitaryan has never played a match in Azerbaijan despite the Gunners and his former club Dortmund both having fixtures there in recent years.

At the Baku Olympic Stadium, where the Europa League final will be held, Arsenal were 3-0 winners over Qarabag in October.

Why isn’t Mkhitaryan able to play in the Europa League final?

Azerbaijan and Mkhitaryan’s native Armenia have no diplomatic relations following the Nagorno-Karabakh War, which ended in 1994.

That means it is impossible for any Armenian to apply for a visa to enter Azerbaijan, and vice-versa.

Even foreign nationals with Armenian names are prone to being banned from entering the country.


What have Arsenal said about the situation?

Uefa had declared that should Arsenal reach the Europa League final, they will support the club in applying for an exemption to allow Mkhitaryan to enter Azerbaijan.

However, the final decision on whether Mkhitaryan will be allowed to play will still rest with the Azeri government, meaning there are no guarantees.

On previous occasions, Mkhitaryan himself has decided not to play in Azerbaijan.

On May 21, Arsenal released a statement confirming Mkhitaryan would NOT be part of the squad travelling for the game.

“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.”

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