Cape Town - Arsenal's managing director, Vinai
Venkatesham, has branded the choice of venue for the Europa League final
as "unacceptable", with Henrikh Mkhitaryan set to miss the game due to
fears over his safety.
The Armenian's safety was a concern because of the dispute between
his country and Azerbaijan, the host nation of next week's fixture
between the Gunners and Chelsea.
Despite receiving assurances aimed at allaying those fears,
Mkhitaryan has chosen not to travel to Baku following discussions with
the club and his family.
Arsenal boss Unai Emery said he respected the 'personal' nature of
Mkhitaryan's decision, but conceded it was 'bad news' for his team.
But Venkatesham branded the situation 'unacceptable' and revealed the
club would make the full extent of their anger known to the governing
He was quoted as saying by a number of national newspapers: "I
struggle to find words for how strongly I feel. We feel it's
"We don't feel he can travel and it's extraordinarily sad. You don't
get a chance to play in major European finals often. Miki has had it
taken away from him and it is an extraordinary shame.
"We made our point clearly to UEFA, we have written to them. We will
also sit down with them face to face after the final and express how it
is unacceptable and how it can never happen again to Arsenal or anyone."