Baku, May 24, AZERTAC
The Associated Press has published an article highlighting the 2019 UEFA Europa League final between Chelsea v Arsenal football clubs to be held at Baku Olympic Stadium in Baku on May 29.
“After holding lengthy talks with Arsenal, Henrikh Mkhitaryan said he would not be traveling to Azerbaijan for next week's final because of concerns about the tension that currently exists between the country and his native Armenia,” says the article.
The article emphasizes that UEFA, European soccer's governing body which organizes the Europa League, reacted by saying it had received assurances about Mkhitaryan's safety in Azerbaijan "from the highest authorities in the country" and that a "comprehensive security plan" had been given to Arsenal.
“And the Azerbaijani government had previously said it would allow Mkhitaryan to play in the May 29 final against Chelsea.
The Association of Football Federations of Azerbaijan called it an “unwarranted decision” by Mkhitaryan and Arsenal, saying there was “no reason whatsoever to put in question the seriousness of these guarantees provided by Azerbaijan," the article says.
"We at all times put the sport as something very separate from these political issues and of course the same issue is again with Mkhitaryan," the article cites Azerbaijan’s Minister of Youth and Sports Azad Rahimov as saying.
The article also includes remarks by Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry’s spokeswoman Leyla Abdullayeva on the issue of the arrival of the Arsenal player. “The Armenian Foreign Ministry statement that player of Armenian heritage at the Arsenal football club will not come to Baku is evidence of an attempt to turn sport into a political instrument because of internal political problems in Armenia. The participation of the Armenian Foreign Ministry in such a game is only regrettable.”
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