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Azerbaijan has spectacularly missed the opportunity—through the Europa League Final—to live up to its alleged commitment to keeping politics separate from sports. Anna Naghdalyan, Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) of Armenia, told this to CNN.

She noted this reflecting on the fact that, due to insufficient security guarantees, Armenia international and Arsenal midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan will not be playing in the UEFA Europa League Final in Baku, the capital city of Azerbaijan.

Naghdalyan said “the toleration of racist targeting of Armenians in the Azerbaijani public and the media, and manifest security risks have made it impossible” for Mkhitaryan to travel to Baku.

“The Europa League Final could be a good opportunity for Azerbaijan to live up to its alleged commitment to keeping politics separate from sports as well as to demonstrate its capacity of tolerance and non-discrimination,” the Armenian MFA spokesperson added. “[But] this opportunity has been spectacularly missed.”

Arsenal will lock horns with Chelsea in their Europa League final which is slated for May 29, in Baku.

But due to security concerns, Armenia national football squad captain and Arsenal midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan has decided not to join the Gunners in this match.

And Arsenal criticized UEFA for holding this game in the capital city of Azerbaijan.

Earlier, both UEFA and Azerbaijani authorities had given Arsenal and Mkhitaryan security guarantees, but the London club on Tuesday announced that after discussions with the Armenian midfielder and his family, they have decided not to take the footballer with them to Baku.

In the past, Mkhitaryan has missed two away European cup matches with Azerbaijani clubs.

 

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