YEREVAN, MAY 27, ARMENPRESS. Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s Arsenal teammates have been blocked to show support to the Armenian midfielder during the Europa League final by strict UEFA rules, Daily Mail reports.
The Gunners had earlier talked about plans to show support for Mkhitaryan, who will not be traveling to the final match against Chelsea in Baku, Azerbaijan for security reasons. Particularly, Arsenal players were discussing wearing shirts with Mkhitaryan’s name on the back for the warm-up in Baku.
But UEFA insiders have confirmed that any similar actions are prohibites by strict rules, according to Daily Mail.
Overall, the entire kit that the players wear during the game are subject to approval by UEFA. This also concerns any potential post-match winners’ shirts.
“Staff at Arsenal are wary of making a statement about Mkhitaryan in Baku, where there are long-standing political tensions with Armenia. They do not want to invite hostility, so it appears the final will pass without a tribute to the 30-year-old, who will be watching at home”, the Daily Mail wrote.
The Europa League final will take place on May 29 in the Azerbaijani capital.
Mkhitaryan will not be traveling to Baku because of his nationality, since Azerbaijan is banning or barring Armenians from entering the country due to the Nagorno Karabakh conflict.
Fans of Arsenal have even launched an online petition calling for boycotting the final.
Edited and translated by Stepan Kocharyan