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Azerbaijan FA slam Arsenal midfielder Mkhitaryan over Baku decision

The Azerbaijan FA have criticised Henrikh Mkhitaryan for opting to miss out on the Europa League final.

The Arsenal midfielder has decided to withdraw from the clash against Chelsea next Wednesday due to concerns over his safety.

Mkhitaryan's homeland Armenia have political tension with the host country, but the Azerbaijani FA insists the 29-year-old would have been safe in Baku.

"We very much regret this unwarranted decision taken, as we understand, collectively by Arsenal, the player and his family.

"Whilst we recognise the right to make a personal decision not to travel, we would like to reiterate that as the host country Azerbaijan has provided all the necessary guarantees required by UEFA to ensure the personal safety of Mr Mkhitaryan.

"There is no reason whatsoever to put in question the seriousness of these guarantees provided by Azerbaijan.

"Over the past decade a large number of Armenian athletes have taken part in various international sports events in Azerbaijan without any issues.

"Finally, we believe that this regretful decision will not affect in any manner the quality and the attraction of this great match.

"We look forward to welcoming both teams in Baku shortly."

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Freddie Taylor

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