Mkhitaryan’s safety in Baku is assured

Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s safety is assured if he travels with the Arsenal squad to Baku for the Europa League Final against Chelsea, according to Azerbaijan’s UK ambassador.

 

Mkhitaryan’s participation was in doubt due to concerns over the dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

Arsenal have been in touch with Uefa about a security strategy for the 30-year-old and that resulted in a special dispensation to receive a visa for the game.

And Azerbaijan’s ambassador to the UK, Tahir Taghizadeh, believes that Mkhitaryan will be safe from any threat of violence if he travels.

Asked if he would contact the midfielder, Mr Taghizadeh told Sky Sports: “Absolutely. I would be delighted for him to have a conversation with me.

“This is a Class A event, if our purpose is to play political games around it it is something different, you are being paid as a footballer, not a politician, let’s leave other issues aside.

“My message to Mkhitaryan would be: you’re a footballer, you want to play football? Go to Baku, you are safe there. If you want to play the issue then that’s a different story.

“What I can guarantee is that the Azerbaijan government will do everything that needs to be done and provide safety and security for every fan, player and staff member coming to this game.”

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 02: Unai Emery, Manager of Arsenal talks to Henrikh Mkhitaryan of Arsenal during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal FC at Wembley Stadium on March 02, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – MARCH 02: Unai Emery, Manager of Arsenal talks to Henrikh Mkhitaryan of Arsenal during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal FC at Wembley Stadium on March 02, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)