Sports: Star’s humanity a lesson for sports’ greedy chiefs

It's the memory of Henrikh Mkhitaryan's understated pride in his own country which makes you rage against the way that football's governors noses in the trough again have seen to it that he will not play in one of Europe's showpiece events.
Mkhitaryan's time in Manchester was not the happiest, though far less appreciated was the part he played in the local Armenian community. It wasn't just his willingness to stop for photographs at the Armenian Taverna, on the city's Princess Street, but his interest in the lives of those in that community. He was one of them.
That kind of humanity is a very long way from sport's cynical willingness to be bought off by the despicable leaders of Azerbaijan a country which imprisons journalists, persecutes dissidents and has displayed a breathtaking contempt for the human rights of those from Armenia.
The case of an Azerbaijani army henchman, Ramil Safarov, says everything. Safarov broke into the room of an Armenian army lieutenant, Gurgen Margaryan, during a NATO-sponsored training seminar in Budapest 15 years ago and axed the man to death. He was convicted of first degree murder in Hungary, yet somehow secured extradition to Azerbaijan.
He received a hero's welcome, was pardoned, given an apartment and eight years' back pay. This is the country from which sporting organisations have queued up to take cash.
Mkhitaryan's sister, Monica, works for UEFA. His mother, Marina, works for the Armenian FA. Arsenal are incandescent.
They should have known they were talking to a wall.
UEFA has already granted Baku matches at Euro 2020. Demands that the decision be reversed have reached a new pitch but don't hold your breath. When the sense of collective indignation has subsided, the gravy train will quietly move on.
© Daily Mail