(CNN)Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has expressed his astonishment that Henrikh Mkhitaryan won't be able to play in the Europa League final against Chelsea in Baku over fears for the Armenian international's safety.
Arsene Wenger: Henrikh Mkhitaryan case 'should not happen in football'
Armenia and Azerbaijan have a century-long conflict stemming from the fall of the Russian Empire in 1917, and there were concerns Mkhitaryan would not be safe in Baku.
Despite UEFA "guarantees" -- after speaking to "the highest authorities in the country" -- that the player would be safe, Arsenal opted to leave the midfielder behind.
"That's something that should not happen in football," Wenger, who brought Mkhitaryan to Arsenal, said in an interview on Thursday. "In the modern world, politically you cannot play a football game."
Azad Rahimov, Azerbaijan's minister of youth and sports, told CNN's Amanda Davies that the Azeri government provided two or three times as much paperwork than on any previous occasion for an athlete, and that there was nothing more they could do to give Mkhitaryan assurances over his safety.
"More?" Rahimov questioned. "What do you mean when you say more? More than a guarantee? More than 100%? Our feeling and our understanding about the security, we did all that. What more could we do?
"We can send a private jet for him? Accompanied by two F16 Fighting Falcons