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Arsenal’s Mkhitaryan to miss Europa League final over safety fears

first_img0Shares0000Arsenal’s Armenian midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan will miss the Europa League final over safety fears © IKIMAGES/AFP / Ian KINGTONLONDON, United Kingdom, May 21 – Arsenal’s Armenian midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan will miss the Europa League final against Chelsea in Baku amid fears over his safety.Mkhitaryan’s well-being was a concern for Arsenal due to the tense political dispute between Armenia and final hosts Azerbaijan. The Premier League club have decided against Mkhitaryan travelling with the rest of Unai Emery’s squad for next Wednesday’s game.“We are very disappointed to announce that Henrikh Mkhitaryan will not be travelling with the squad for our UEFA Europa League final against Chelsea,” an Arsenal statement announced on Tuesday.“We have thoroughly explored all the options for Micki to be part of the squad but after discussing this with Micki and his family we have collectively agreed he will not be in our travelling party.”Azerbaijan’s ambassador to the UK, Tahir Taghizadeh, had insisted Mkhitaryan would be free from any threat of violence, but it was reported the star didn’t believe he would be safe on the pitch.“Having considered all the current options, we had to take the tough decision for me not to travel with the squad to the UEL Final against Chelsea,” Mkhitaryan tweeted.“It’s the kind of game that doesn’t come along very often for us players and I must admit, it hurts me a lot to miss it. I will be cheering my teammates on! Let’s bring it home.”UEFA, European football’s governing body, insisted they had done all they could to ensure Mkhitaryan’s safety in Baku.“Working alongside Arsenal FC, UEFA sought and received assurances regarding the player’s safety in Azerbaijan from the highest authorities in the country,” a UEFA statement read.“As a result of these guarantees, a comprehensive security plan was developed and given to the club.“While the club acknowledges the efforts that UEFA and the Azeri government have gone to in this matter, we respect the personal decision not to travel with the player.”Mkhitaryan had featured in 11 games during the Europa League campaign and his absence will be a big blow as Arsenal look for the victory they need to qualify for next season’s Champions League.“We have written to UEFA expressing our deep concerns about this situation,” the Arsenal statement added.“We’re also very sad that a player will miss out on a major European final in circumstances such as this, as it is something that comes along very rarely in a footballer’s career.“Micki has been a key player in our run to the final so this is a big loss for us from a team perspective.”Armenia captain Mkhitaryan skipped the Gunners’ Europa League fixture against Qarabag in October because of tensions caused by a dispute over the Nagorny Karabakh region.Azerbaijan and Armenia have feuded over Nagorny Karabakh since Armenian separatists seized the territory in a war that claimed about 30,000 lives in the early 1990s.A ceasefire was agreed in 1994 but the two countries remain locked in a bitter dispute with frequent exchanges of fire, and tensions are such that Mkhitaryan also did not travel to Azerbaijan with former club Borussia Dortmund for a Europa League match against Galaba FK in 2015.0Shares0000(Visited 4 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

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first_imgFIVE more Garda stations around the county are to close next year as part of cutbacks.And the entire Glenties Division is to be shut down and powers transferred to other divisions in the county.The stations which will close include Annagry, Glencolmcille, Malin, Brockagh and Churchill. Gardai are to be transferred to their nearest station in the announcement slammed as “sneaky” because it was announced on budget day.Gardai in Annagry will transfer to Bunbeg, Glencolmcille to Carrick, Malin to Carndonagh, Churchill to Letterkenny and Brockagh to Ballybofey, Shatter said.The Glenties District is to be divided up and shared by the Ballyshannon, Letterkenny and Milford districts.More than 90 other Garda stations – mostly in the west of Ireland – will also close. Speaking at the publication of the Annual Policing Plan for 2013 this evening, Mr Shatter: “As Minister I am committed to ensuring that the Garda Síochána use all of its resources in the fight against crime in the most efficient and effective way possible.“Until I assumed office the number and location of Garda stations in the State had barely changed since 1922 and the need for change and consolidation of Garda stations, based on a modern operational assessment as to how the Gardaí can best serve the community, was clearly required.“The approach to policing in the first quarter of the 21st Century could not continue to be based on the location of police stations as inherited from the British in the first quarter of the 20th Century. Whilst an appropriate spread of Garda stations will always be a key element of our policing service, account must be taken of the revolutionary developments since the foundation of the State in transport, communications and technology.“This is the objective of the reforms that are taking place. In addition I must ensure that we use decreasing financial resources to the optimum benefit of the wider community in a manner that facilitates the presence in communities of operational Gardaí on patrol, preventing and detecting crime rather than Gardaí substantially engaged in administrative duties behind desks.The Minister continued: “Nobody should be under the illusion that a single Garda sitting at a desk in a small Garda Station for three hours in the morning, no matter how committed or competent, is the best approach to tackling crime. “We must free up Gardaí so that they are available for frontline operational purposes. In this context it is important to note that none of the Garda stations being consolidated outside Dublin are currently open or manned at night and most of them are only open in the morning.“I am pleased that, despite the financial difficulties we were able to acquire 213 Garda vehicles in 2012 with €4m. In 2013, a further €5m will be made available for the purchase and fit-out of vehicles to ensure Garda mobility and the continuing modernisation of the Garda fleet.The Minister also said: “I would like to thank the Garda Commissioner for the initiatives he is taking in implementing crucial reform in the public interest in respect of the Garda Síochána. He is right in stating that the steps now being taken represent “the most fundamental restructuring of An Garda Síochána” since its foundation. The reforms being implemented will deliver significant benefits for the country as a whole and for the Garda Force”.The move was roundly condemned by the Garda Representative Association who say the move will wreck rural community policing which relies so much on local intelligence. The union which represents rank and file Gardai accused Mr Shatter of “disguising closure as consolidation” and “the withdrawal of gardaí from rural communities as rationalisation”.The GRA said the changes are being imposed without proper public consultation and will have a negative effect on the quality of the police service.It described the move as a political decision made without proper risk assessment to underpin it and said it fears the closures will mean the end of community policing for many of the garda districts affected.Sinn Fein and Fianna Fail condemned the moves.ANGER AS ALAN SHATTER CLOSES ANOTHER FIVE DONEGAL GARDA STATIONS AND AXES GLENTIES DISTRICT was last modified: December 6th, 2012 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:ANGER AS ALAN SHATTER CLOSES ANOTHER FIVE DONEGAL GARDA STATIONS AND AXES GLENTIES DIVISIONAnnagryBrockagh and Churchill.GlencolmcilleMalinlast_img read more

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