Europa League Final 2019: Koscielny Hit Out At Uefa Over Mkhitaryan Debacle
Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Picture: Arsenal

French international and Arsenal captain, Laurent Koscielny has lashed out at European football governing after Henrikh Mkhitaryan decided not to travel with the squad to Baku for the Europa League Final.

The Gunners are due to travel to the Azerbaijani capital to face London rivals Chelsea next Wednesday in an all-English final.

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But they will be without the Armenian midfielder, who has opted against travelling due to concerns over his safety, relating to the long-running dispute between his nation and Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

Despite receiving assurances aimed at allaying those fears, Mkhitaryan has chosen not to travel to Baku following discussions with the club and his family.

Koscielny vented his frustration with Uefa, questioning why European football’s governing body did not take into account the political issues in Azerbaijan before deciding on the venue.

“I am not very happy,” Koscielny told BBC Radio 5Live. “First because we need to leave one player here, because he can’t play in the final.

“I think Uefa needs to know about the different problems they can have with the politics in the country. When one country has a problem with another they should not give the final to that country.

“For us it is difficult because we want to have Micki with us. He is an important player for us.”

Gunners coach Unai Emery admitted that losing the 30-year-old for the game was “bad news”, but insisted the club will respect his decision.

“I discussed this with Mkhitaryan,” he said. “It’s a very personal decision. He wants to play with the team, but he spoke with his family and decided not to go.

“It’s bad news, but we cannot do anything about these issues. It’s a very, very personal decision and we need to respect him.

“I don’t understand the political problems, but I must respect (his decision).”