LONDON, United Kingdom, May 22 – Arsenal’s managing director, Vinai Venkatesham, has branded the choice of venue for the Europa League final as “unacceptable”, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan set to miss the game due to fears over his safety.
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 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.”