UEFA is set to confirm in the next 24 hours whether they will meet the security requirements requested by Arsenal to ensure Armenian midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan can play in the Europa League Final, Evening Standard reports.
The Gunners have sought additional measures to guarantee the 30-year-old’s safety amid ongoing political tensions between Azerbaijan, which will stage the showpiece match, and neighbouring Armenia, Mkhitaryan’s birthplace.
There are currently no diplomatic relations between the two countries due to a conflict over Nagorno Karabakh but Mkhitaryan will be given special dispensation to receive a visa.
This was also the case for Arsenal’s Europa League group stage game against Qarabag last October but a decision was taken against him travelling to Baku on security grounds.
Talks are ongoing between Arsenal and Uefa. A delegation from the club is in Azerbaijan on Wednesday discussing logistics for the final at Baku’s Olympic Stadium with Uefa officials and counterparts from Chelsea.
A group of Armenian athletes travelled to Azerbaijan for the European Games in June 2015 but were booed during the opening ceremony and then singled out by crowds when competing in their various events.
Arsenal usually travel to away matches with their own private security detail but are thought to be requesting an increased presence in transit and around the team hotel in Baku to enable Mkhitaryan to move freely.
In a statement released last Friday, Arsenal said: “Acceptable guarantees have not been received yet, and we hope that Uefa will be able to supply these promptly. We are of course hugely concerned that the location of the final could lead to Micki not being able to play in a European final.”
Please Donate Today
Did you enjoy this article? Then please consider donating today to ensure that Eurasia Review can continue to be able to provide similar content.