Bernd Leno believes Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s absence from the Europa League final is a ‘scandal’.
The Arsenal midfielder has decided not to travel to Baku due to the ongoing conflict between his native Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Mkhitaryan was given assurances about his security but, after speaking with his club and family, chose not to travel.
Goalkeeper Leno said, per the Daily Mail: “It's a scandal that he cannot play because of that, he works hard all season and cannot come to such a final for political reasons. I'm just sorry for him.”
It’s not just Mkhitaryan’s absence that has led to widespread criticism of UEFA’s decision to host the final in Baku.
- Arsenal fan's disgusting Baku bathroom
- Wenger & Mourinho to share studio for CL final
- Coquelin bossed Messi in Copa del Rey final
The location has proven difficult for many fans to get to, with many deciding the trouble and costs aren’t worth it.
And the decision to give both clubs allocations of just 6,000 was based partly due to the nearest airport only being able to hold 15,000 visitors a day.
Mkhitaryan fans stopped by police
UEFA have many questions to answer. And they only become more pressing when the treatment of Arsenal supporters in Baku is witnessed.
Footage has emerged of two fans who went out with Mkhitaryan’s name on their shirts being stopped by Azerbaijani police.
The policeman speaks into a walkie-talkie before allowing the fans to move on.
How has it come to this?
'We have to win for Mkhitaryan'
Arsenal defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos has urged his teammates to win the Europa League for Mkhitaryan.
"Of course it's a big loss for us. We are very sad and now we have to win for him," Sokratis said, per Sky Sports.
"We have to go (there) and play our game. To believe we can do it and I think if we give 100 per cent and have a good day, and also luck, because in one game anything can happen (then) we can do it."News Now - Sport News