Laurent Koscielny has blasted UEFA after Henrikh Mkhitaryan ruled himself out of the Europa League final, saying the governing body should not have chosen Azerbaijan to host the game.
And Gunners defender Koscielny said his team-mate should never have been put in that position by UEFA, who he says should not award finals to countries beset with political problems.
Armenia international Mkhitaryan took the heartbreaking decision himself to miss the Europa League final in Baku, breaking the news to team-mates before training on Tuesday .
The 30-year-old feared for his safety on the pitch in Azerbaijan and did not want to put his team-mates in danger, nor risk a backlash from his own country if he played.
And Koscielny has stuck up for the midfielder.
“I am not very happy,” Koscielny told BBC Radio 5 Live. “First because we need to leave one player here, because he can’t play in the final.
“I think UEFA needs to know about the different problems they can have with the politics in the country. When one country has a problem with another they should not give the final to that country.
“For us it is difficult because we want to have Micki with us. He is an important player for us.”
Mkhitaryan said : “Having considered all current options, we had to take the tough decision for me not to travel with the squad to the Europa League final.
"It's the kind of game that doesn't come along very often and I admit, it hurts a lot to miss it.”
It is another embarrassing own goal for UEFA over the venue for the final as Arsenal now cannot even pick one of their players.
Arsenal boss Unai Emery urged the players to try and win the trophy for their team mate, the players then all applauded Mkhitaryan after the midfielder told his team mates at training.
Arsenal also issued a strongly worded statement admitting “deep concerns” over travelling but UEFA insisted they had offered assurances and that it was a personal decision.
The Europa League final will be staged at Baku Olympic Stadium on May 29.