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YEREVAN. – Henrikh Mkhitaryan clearly realizes that Azerbaijan conducts a clear-cut state education policy of Armenophobia among Azerbaijani society. Mkhitar Hayrapetyan, head of the National Assembly of Armenia Standing Committee on Science, Education, Culture, Diaspora, Youth and Sport, stated this at a press conference on Monday.

He stated the aforementioned commenting on Armenia international and Arsenal midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s decision on not heading to Baku, the capital city of Azerbaijan, for the UEFA Europa League final.

In Hayrapetyan’s words, the matter of whether Azerbaijan would be able to ensure Mkhitaryan’s safety had risen already a month ago. As per the MP, the cause for reflecting on this matter had been The Independent newspaper article where it is noted that Mkhitaryan knows more than what is voiced, and that this article touches also upon the Armenian pogroms in Sumgait, Azerbaijan.

“Consequently, our footballer realizes that there will be a climate in Baku where there will be moods filled with manifestations of emphasized Armenophobia and overall  xenophobia,” Hayrapetyan said. “I fully support this decision because it was a balanced decision. Here it’s not solely about security guarantees; (...) the matter had been politicized by Azerbaijan from the very beginning.”

Arsenal will lock horns with Chelsea in their Europa League final, which is slated for Wednesday 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 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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