Mkhitaryan security fears over Arsenal's Azerbaijan trip

Ruben Holloway
September 17, 2018

Here, Press Association Sport looks at the clubs Arsenal will have to negotiate in the group stage.

There has been diplomatic tensions between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh territory, with a ceasefire declared in 1994 after fighting erupted several years earlier.

This is not the first time that Mkhitaryan has found himself in this situation, with the forward left out of Borussia Dortmund's squad to play Azerbaijani club Gabala in 2015.

UEFA argued that AC Milan did not meet a break-even requirement under its Financial Fair Play regulations, adding the club had not provided sufficient evidence of its financial stability.

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Arsenal added: "Safety and security of all our players and staff is always a top priority".

'We've talked to the player again, and it's the best decision for all involved.

This year's Europa League group stage draw will take place on August 31 at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco, one day after the draw for the Champions League.

They have been grouped with PAOK Salonika, Belarusian champions BATE Borisov and Hungarian title-winners Vidi.

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The German and Austrian clubs are both allowed to play in European competition after the UEFA Club Financial Control Body ruled last summer that they did not break rules on the integrity of UEFA competitions.

Scottish champions Celtic are in pot two, having been knocked out in the Champions League third qualifying round by AEK Athens and then got past Lithuania's Suduva in their Europa League qualifying play-off.

Rangers, a fourth seed, face a tough task progressing on their return to Europe against Villarreal, Rapid Vienna and Spartak Moscow.

The first round of group matches is on September 20.

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