Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno has described Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s Europa League final situation as a ‘scandal’.
Unai Emery’s side face Chelsea in an all-English European final on May 29, however, Armenian midfielder Mkhitaryan will miss the clash for safety reasons due to political tensions between Armenia and the host country, Azerbaijan.
Leno has described the incident as a ‘scandal’, saying he feels sorry for his teammate who will miss out on Wednesday’s showpiece.
“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,” he told Kicker.
“I’m just sorry for him [Mkhitaryan].”
UEFA’s decision to host the final in the Azerbaijani capital of Baku has drawn much criticism, with both Arsenal and Chelsea returning some of their ticket allocation due to the logistical difficulties of attending the final.
Leno says the option to boycott the final is not possible, with Arsenal needing to win to secure Champions League qualification and says the clubs would face exclusion from the governing body should they refuse to play.
“The club wants the title, they want to go to the Champions League and if Arsenal and Chelsea refuse, they would probably be excluded from UEFA.
“That’s not so easy.”