The Azerbaijan foreign ministry have responded to the rumours that Henrikh Mkhitaryan won’t be able to play against Qarabag in Arsenal’s Europa League clash in October.

Reports started to surface on Friday that Azerbaijan wouldn’t allow Mkhitaryan into the country for the match, due to tensions between the country and the Arsenal man’s homeland of Armenia. Hikmet Hajiyev, spokesperson for the Azerbaijani foreign ministry, gave a very non-committal response to questions about the issue.

“Clubs should decide themselves their list of footballers against Qarabag,” Hajiyev said. “Only after that we can return to this issue. If we are connected to this issue, we will discuss it then.”

Being cynical, that sounds very much like he’s saying ‘it’s only a problem if you make it one by picking him’. The response should’ve been that Mkhitaryan is welcome to play, and they’ll make sure there are no issues if he is selected.

The problem is going to rear its head again if Arsenal continue to progress through the competition, considering the Europa League final is in Azerbaijan. It’s bizarre UEFA even allowed the country to host the event knowing they had these restrictions in place.

This isn’t the first time Mkhitaryan has faced this problem. With Borussia Dortmund, he had to miss out on a trip to play Gabala in October 2015 for the same reason.

Hopefully this time the Azerbaijan ministry can provide a solution. If not, I’d be pushing UEFA to move the game to a neutral venue.

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Arsenal fan since a young age, now a season ticket holder who enjoys writing, tweeting and making videos about the Gunners.