Live

LIVE: The Football Show

09:00 PM-10:00 PM

LIVE: The Football Show

Soccer

EXPLAINER: Why Mkhitaryan won't travel to Baku

Jake O'Donnell
Jake O'Donnell

15:14 23 May 2019

The omission of Henrikh Mkhitaryan from Arsenal’s Europa League final squad due to concerns for his safety should he travel to Azerbaijan has shown that "money has won" over practicality in the logistics of the final.

Anoosh Chakelian, Senior Writer with the New Statesmen, joined Wednesday’s OTB AM to provide an in-focus look at the reasons why Mkhitaryan did not feel safe to travel to Baku and the recent history and tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

While there has been a long history of ethnic tension and conflict between the two countries, Chakelian told the show that the recent history of the tension had been consciously stoked up by the Soviet Union.

In addition, Chakelian explained that the main contention of the conflict now is over a disputed piece of land that is in Azerbaijan but has a majority Armenian ethnicity.

“During the Soviet Union the area became its own autonomous region”, Chakelian noted.

“So, the Soviet regime attempted to stir up tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan using this land because of its historic conflict as a divide and rule tactic.

“So, ever since then in the 80s it's been a real tinderbox of tensions. There was a declaration of independence in 1991 which led to a very bloody war but even though there has been a ceasefire since ‘94 there are still skirmishes and deaths.”

Since then, the piece of land has become a “symbolic” area of importance for Armenians due to the amount of land that the country has lost.

Due to the current poor relations between the countries, Armenians are rarely, if ever, given permission to travel into Azerbaijan. Chakelian added that even having an ‘Ian’ or ‘Yan’ at the end of a surname could make receiving a visa to enter Azerbaijan extremely difficult due to the Armenian connotations of such a surname.

“It seems like his safety hasn’t been guaranteed and that's appalling”, Chakelian posited before posing the question: “If it was a bigger player or someone from a more influential country would it be the same story?”

You can watch Chakelian's full explainer of the situation between Armenia and Azerbaijan in the YouTube video at the top of this article.

Download the brand new OTB Sports App in the Play Store & App Store right now! We've got you covered!

Subscribe to Off The Ball's YouTube channel for more videos, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for the latest sporting news and content.


Read more about

Armenia Arsenal Azerbaijan Baku Chelsea Europa League Henrikh Mkhitaryan UEFA

Live: Title

Description

Added to queue
Removed from queue

On Air

Share

Share

Next up in queue

Title
Description
Duration

There are currently no podcasts in the queue

Go to podcasts

On Air

LIVE: The Football Show

LIVE: The Football Show

09:00 PM-10:00 PM

Share

Up next

Off The Bench

Off The Bench

10:00 PM-11:00 PM

Share

Repeat: Off The Ball

Repeat: Off The Ball

11:00 PM-12:00 AM

Share

Repeat: OTB AM

Repeat: OTB AM

12:00 AM-02:00 AM

Share

Repeat: Off The Ball

Repeat: Off The Ball

02:00 AM-05:00 AM

Share

Repeat: OTB AM

Repeat: OTB AM

05:00 AM-07:00 AM

Share

Highlights on Off The Ball

Highlights on Off The Ball

07:00 AM-07:30 AM

Share

LIVE: OTB AM

LIVE: OTB AM

07:30 AM-10:00 AM

Share

Repeat: OTB AM

Repeat: OTB AM

10:00 AM-12:00 PM

Share

Alan Quinlan's 'How's The Head?'

Alan Quinlan's 'How's The Head?'

12:00 PM-01:00 PM

Share

OTB Gold

OTB Gold

01:00 PM-02:00 PM

Share

Highlights on Off The Ball

Highlights on Off The Ball

02:00 PM-05:00 PM

Share

OTB

OTB

05:00 PM-06:00 PM

Share

OTB Gold

OTB Gold

06:00 PM-07:00 PM

Share

LIVE: Newsround

LIVE: Newsround

07:00 PM-07:30 PM

Share

LIVE: Off The Ball

LIVE: Off The Ball

07:30 PM-09:00 PM

Share

LIVE: The Football Show

LIVE: The Football Show

09:00 PM-10:00 PM

Share

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

Share on