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Mkhitaryan to miss Europa League final … over safety issues

ARSENAL have revealed that Henrikh Mkhitaryan will miss out on the Europa League final later this month against Chelsea.

The Gunners released a statement on Tuesday in which they revealed their disappointment at having failed to guarantee the player’s safety for the forthcoming trip to Baku.

The Armenia captain has never previously played in Azerbaijan over the dispute regarding the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

Arsenal announced in a short statement: “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.”

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.

Mkhitaryan missed out on travelling with the Arsenal squad to the Europa League group stage match against FK Qarabag last October.

The former Manchester United midfielder had been provided with special dispensation to receive a visa for the game at the Baku Olympic Stadium on May 29, but he will now not travel to the showpiece event. – Eurosport

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