Arsenal midfielder, Mkhitaryan is unlikely to be part of the team’s trip to Baku, Azerbaijan, where the Europa League final will be taking place on May 29.
Following their semi-final victory over Valencia last night, Arsenal will face fellow London side, Chelsea, in an all-English final but the Arsenal player will not be part of it, not because of a match ban but because he is banned from entering Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan and Armenia, Mkhitaryan’s home country, have no diplomatic relations due to a longstanding feud over the Nagorno-Karabakh region.
It is impossible for any Armenian to apply for a visa to enter Azerbaijan, and vice-versa. Mkhitaryan could therefore be declined for a visa should Arsenal apply for him to travel to Baku.
UEFA have however declared that Mkhitaryan should be allowed to travel to Baku with Arsenal backed by an exemption. But the final decision rests on the government of Azerbaijan.
It is nor te first time the strained relationship between Armenia and Azerbaijn is stopping the 30-year-old player from playing football for his club.
While playing for Borussia Dortmund in 2015, he did not travel for a Europa League tie against Azerbaijan Premier League side Gabala. He also missed Arsenal’s 3-0 Europa League win at FK Qarabag in October, 2018 even though it was claimed that Arsenal deliberately did not apply for him to travel for fear of an hostile Azerbaijan home fans.