‘Giroud and Luiz have relatives there that they often visit’: Arsenal fans joke Chelsea stars have links to Armenia in bid to force them out of Europa League final following decision not to take Henrikh Mkhitaryan to Baku
- Arsenal fans joked Chelsea stars have links to Armenia so they can’t play in Baku
- Henrikh Mkhitaryan will not play in the Europa League final due to safety worries
- His safety was an issue because of the dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan
- Fans joked that Eden Hazard and Co have been visiting relatives in Armenia
The eagerly anticipated all-English final in Baku descended into farce on Tuesday when Arsenal announced they would not be taking Henrikh Mkhitaryan to the Azerbaijani capital due to safety concerns.
The Armenian’s safety was a concern because of the dispute between his country and the host nation and, despite receiving assurances aimed at allaying those fears, Mkhitaryan has chosen not to travel to Baku following discussions with the club and his family.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan has decided against travelling to Azerbaijan for the Europa League final
The Armenia captain had been assured that he would be safe in Azerbaijan despite tensions
Arsenal fans have taken to social media to joke that a number of Chelsea players are Armenian
Arsenal fans sought revenge on social media in the aftermath of the news, joking that a number of Chelsea players were Armenian so they also would not travel.
@R_GOONER wrote: ‘The sad thing is Armenia is a great country. I was once there on holiday, I met Eden Hazard and N’Golo Kante they were both there to visit their grandparents.’
Continuing the theme, @LukeJenko4 added: ‘Heard Kepa actually took one of those dna test packages and came back 62% Armenian’.
@goonerrtw tweeted: ‘Giroud and Luiz have relatives there too that they often visit.’
Completing the gag, @mma0604 typed: ‘Hazard is Armenian through his mothers side’.
The Armenia captain told team-mates on Tuesday of his decision not to fly to Baku for the game against Chelsea next Wednesday. He said: ‘It hurts a lot to miss it.’
Arsenal called UEFA’s failure to allay Mkhitaryan’s fears ‘unacceptable’ and will have it out face to face with officials of the governing body after the final.
The Gunners have held talks with UEFA over the past few days and officials devised a security plan they believed would ensure Mkhitaryan’s safety.
However, the club and Mkhitaryan retained serious concerns over his safety, particularly on the pitch.
Mkhitaryan said: ‘Having considered all current options, we had to take the tough decision for me not to travel with the squad to the Europa League final.
‘It’s the kind of game that doesn’t come along very often and I admit, it hurts a lot to miss it.’
A UEFA statement read: ‘UEFA sought and received assurances regarding the player’s safety in Azerbaijan from the highest authorities in the country. As a result of these guarantees, a comprehensive security plan was developed and given to the club.’
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