After Arsenal qualified for the Europa League final last night, it was revealed that both we and Chelsea would only be handed an allocation of 6,000 tickets for the game in Baku which is being played at a stadium that holds 70,000 people.
It means that many loyal fans wouldn’t be able to attend the game should they overcome the difficulties/expense of travelling to Azerbaijan in the first place.
This evening, UEFA have released a statement explaining their decision. It reads:
Based on UEFA’s recent experience with UEFA Europa League finals and the UEFA Super Cup in comparable venues the number of finalists ‘ supporters requesting tickets for a UEFA Europa League final can vary greatly from club to club. Of course, it is impossible to predict in advance which clubs will reach the final while the venue has to be chosen around two years in advance.
Taking into consideration the above and most importantly the geographical location and logistical capacity of airports in and around the host city, it was deemed that around 15,000 spectators would be able to travel from abroad (this includes finalists, fans and general public), with Baku as the main hub. Offering more tickets to fans of the participating teams, without any guarantee that they would be able to arrange suitable travel to reach Baku, was therefore not a responsible option.
Based on these circumstances, for this year’s UEFA Europa League final in Baku, 6,000 tickets have been made available to each of the finalists. UEFA remains in close contact with the finalists regarding the travel arrangements of their supporters and any other operational aspects with regards to the final.
Of course it begs the question – why hold the game there in the first place if it’s so unsuitable? It also ignores the tens of thousands of tickets made available to the ‘football family’ via ballot, the majority of which presumably won’t be from Azerbaijan, and thus likely to arrive via air. Many of those tickets are likely to be sold on the black market to Arsenal or Chelsea fans at extortionate prices too.
What could have seen then make such a decision? We here at Ar$eblog New$ $imply can’t figure it out at all.
To compound it, Arsenal still have yet to receive guarantees over the safety of Henrikh Mkhitaryan, which may see the Armenian left in London for our biggest game of the season. More details on that here.
It’s a ridiculous decision, even Mugsmashers boss Jurgen Klopp was critical of it, saying, “I think going to Baku, that’s really funny for a European final.
“These guys who make the decisions I don’t know what they have for breakfast really.
“Baku I have no clue how to get there or if there is any regular flight at all. In these decisions people must be a much more sensible and reasonable.
“It is irresponsible.”