Fans Make Petition To Boycott The Europe League Final In Baku
Following the news that Henrikh Mkhitaryan will not be part of Arsenal's travelling squad for the Europa League final, fans are starting petition's to boycott the event in Baku, Azerbaijan.
There is a long-running conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, who have had no relations since the Nagorno-Karabakh war in 1994, and political tensions between both countries have proved conclusive for the Arsenal winger.
It is understood that the 30-year-old 'feared for his safety' on the pitch.
Mkhitaryan has since voiced his disappointment at the situation, saying his omission "hurts a lot".
[...] 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.I will be cheering my teammates on! Let's bring it home @Arsenal :trophy::muscle::muscle::muscle: #uel #final #arsenal #chelsea #AFC #COYG pic.twitter.com/gnDA6oyolw- Henrikh Mkhitaryan (@HenrikhMkh) May 21, 2019
A number of fans have since taken a stand against the decision to choose Baku's Olympic Stadium as next Wednesday's venue, demanding that the final be moved to a more suitable location.
"The Europa League Final is set to take place Wednesday 29 May 2019, in Baku, the capital city of Azerbaijan.
"Arsenal will go head to head with Chelsea. This has forced Arsenal to exclude key Armenian player, Henrikh Mkhitaryan from the squad set to travel at the weekend. Armenia and Azerbaijan have a century-long conflict stemming from the fall of the Russian Empire in 1917, which has caused concern for Mkhitaryan's safety.
"As a global body, UEFA should have considered this before setting a venue, and furthermore, after it became apparent that a club with an Armenian player would contend for the League Cup.
"It is unfair to the player and the club who have worked hard to qualify."
"It is is not acceptable for anyone to be left behind from a European final, it is bad enough so many fans cannot make it. Something can and should be done. UEFA are responsible for guaranteeing safety of players and fans, and it has become evident that this is not the case.
"In the best interest of the Sport we all love, we ask both teams to pull out of the Europa League Final, to send a clear message to UEFA that no player should be left behind for 'security reasons'.
"This is an absolute disgrace entirely of UEFA's making. The limited seating assigned to the finalist, the lack of resources in the host city, and now, lack of security to players and fans is not good enough."
Actually, should both Arsenal and Chelsea boycott the final over Mkhitaryan? Imagine if this was Hazard not being able to travel to Baku or an English player. It's disgusting.- Matt Law (@Matt_Law_DT) May 21, 2019
.@UEFA should change the venue of the @EuropaLeague final. It is absurd that the safety of a player can't be guaranteed due to his nationality. If they don't both @Arsenal & @ChelseaFC should boycott the final.- Nima Tavallaey (@NimaTavRood) May 21, 2019
Arsenal released a statement on Tuesday confirming that Mkhitaryan will not travel to Baku after speaking with the player and his family:
"We are very disappointed to announce that Henrikh Mkhitaryan will not be travelling with the squad for our Uefa Europa League final against Chelsea," a statement on the official Arsenal website said.
"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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