Bernd Leno has called the situation which has led to Henrikh Mkhitaryan's withdrawal from Arsenal's Europa League final squad a 'scandal', with the Armenian midfielder feeling unable to play safely in Azerbaijan due to long-standing tensions between the two nations.
The selection of Baku as the location for the final has been criticised by both sets of fans due to travel difficulties, and Mkhitaryan's inability to play in a European final for political reasons has been widely condemned.
Here we go....we're counting down to the Europa League final and here's all you need to know about it! https://t.co/Qh3b04AwlO— ArsenalPro (@ArsenalPro) May 27, 2019
Leno told Kicker:
On the decision to hand the hosting of the final to Baku, a city singularly ill-equipped to deal with fans from two English clubs, he added: "Such decisions are anything but happy and in the end, the fans, the mood in the stadium and Mkhi – we are all suffering. This is not a good sign for football."
The German stopper ruled out a last-minute boycott of the match though, explaining: "You could do that, but it would hurt the club. The club want the title, they want to go to the Champions League. If Arsenal and Chelsea refuse, they would probably be excluded from UEFA, which is not so easy to deal with."
The Europa League final kicks off at 8pm UK time on Wednesday evening.