UEFA reply to Arsenal statement

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UEFA say their ‘experts’ are working on finding cheaper solutions for travelling fans after admitting that two London sides playing the Europa League in Baku has caused logistical problems.

In a long-winded letter replying to a strongly-worded statement released by Arsenal yesterday, European football’s administrative body apologised for the situation but then somewhat laughably reaffirmed that ‘fans are a priority’.

The Gunners complained both about the paltry 6,000 ticket allocation and the fact that getting to the capital Azerbaijan is so difficult for supporters travelling from London.

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Here’s UEFA’s response in full:

We acknowledge your letter of 15 May.

I would like to give you a bit of depth with this reply. Knowing your long experience in football and UEFA competitions, I am sure you can fully appreciate that the organisation of a final is a complex and lengthy operation. UEFA has committed to appoint hosts only via a fair and transparent bidding process, where the candidates have to provide evidence of their ability to stage the event on the basis of a number of criteria that are crucial to its successful delivery.

The bidding process for a club competition final is generally held a couple of years in advance, meaning that the exact circumstances in which the final will have to be organised cannot be known at the time of the appointment. 

Mobility and accommodation are obviously key criteria falling under evaluation, with airport capacity being an important element. The specificity of the UEFA Europa League final, when compared to the UEFA Champions League final, is the high volatility in the number of fans following the two finalist teams. Experience from all previous finals tells us that the numbers may be very inconsistent from team to team and from final to final and that it is therefore not advisable to establish the tickets quota of the two finalist teams as a proportion of capacity rather than on statistically based realistic figures. It would of course be ideal to postpone the entire ticketing process (including tickets for neutral public) until such moment when teams are known or closely predictable. Of course this is not possible due to the complexity of all ticketing operations and the need to draw up thorough and robust security plans.

It goes without saying that an all-English final played by two London teams was not a very predictable event at the time of the appointment. There is little doubt that this has added significant difficulties to the event logistics. We are really sorry for the problems that your (and Chelsea’s) fans are encountering trying to organise their journey to Baku. Our experts are keenly working on this matter with a view to help find cheaper solutions for travelling fans. We would welcome a joint effort with your club in this respect.

For UEFA fans are a priority. Football is for fans and all of them around Europe should have the chance to enjoy unique moments of top football such as only UEFA competitions can offer. Those matches are usually reserved to a limited number of countries whose clubs are particularly competitive but, when appropriate infrastructure exists and is built also in this perspective, it is fair and due not only to give also other fans the possibility of a unique live experience, but also to stage events which can greatly boost the promotion of football in an entire region. That’s why UEFA would consider utterly unfair to exclude certain venues just based on their decentralised geographical position.

I trust your understanding as men of sport and representatives of a club with a long and glorious tradition and solid sporting principles. I confirm our availability to work with you in order to find helpful solutions for your fans.

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While we’re well aware of the importance of football being shared by all the different countries under UEFA’s umbrella, taking such a high-profile final to Baku was always going to cause difficulties on the travel front. It’s fucking miles away from everywhere, not just London, and very few countries on the continent have direct flights. They knew this and still deemed it appropriate. A half-hearted apology at this stage doesn’t solve anything.

We’ll be curious to see how many locals actually get their hands on tickets. We suspect the stadium will more likely be full of sponsor contacts…if it’s full at all. At this point, there’s no guarantee of that.

As for the future, it doesn’t look like UEFA is going to be more flexible should a similar situation arise in the future. Georgia’s capital Tbilisi is going up against Spain’s Seville for the 2021 Europa League tournament, Minsk, Helsinki and Kharkiv are vying with Belfast for 2021 Super Cup final while the Champions League could return to Russia if St Petersburg beat Munich to the gig.

Anyway, we wait to see what UEFA come up with on the travel front. We’re not holding our breath.

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Modha
Modha

What a fucking shit show

TeeCee
TeeCee

$hit $how.

Red-Sky
Red-Sky

I see a lot of ‘also’ in the statement.
Emery is that you?

A Different George
A Different George

Good evening.

Laca New Signing
Laca New Signing

You mean “Good ebening” right?

Okester
Okester

Their response is reminiscent of one you’d get from any service company after registering a complaint – A long winded response confirming they don’t give a f**k and will not being doing anything to help, but please contact them again if you need anything else….

Bankok49er
Bankok49er

“It goes without saying that an all-English final played by two London teams was not a very predictable event at the time of the appointment.” I agree but it was certainly 100% more accurate than thinking that a local side would feature surely?

Yolo Toure
Yolo Toure

Never doubt FC Carrierbag

David C
David C

I interpret this response from Uefa as an admission that THEY did not do their jobs. They could have easily researched the logistics of travelling their to determine that the city’s incapable of hosting an event this big.

George
George

It’s almost as if there were just the one English team, they would now be saying shut up and get on with it. And what the hell would they doing if an Armenian team had made the final which they are currently eligible to do.

I always try to imagine the ineptitude that leads to outcomes like this – when/who/the scenes for that last, final signature before the champagne. Idiots. No doubt highly paid idiots.

EZD
EZD

Exactly. It’s hardly a shock that the finalists are from Western Europe.

Of all the finalists in the last decade, two have been from Ukraine and the other 18 from Western Europe (finalists England, Germany, France, Portugal and the Netherlands).

London actually has the best flight connections in Western Europe. Pretending the problem is because two teams from London qualified is pretty disingenuous. It’s hard to imagine any realistic final line up that fans would be able to travel to Azerbaijan for easily.

Chris
Chris

It’s curious, their approach to ticketing. Why couldn’t they allocate 20,000 tickets (or whatever) to the teams? If they went unsold, sell them online during the last ten days. Why is that so difficult?

Cliff Bastin
Cliff Bastin

Divide that number into the capacity of airplanes.

Alex
Alex

No

Arseman
Arseman

“It goes without saying that an all-English final played by two London teams was not a very predictable event at the time of the appointment.”

In the last 3 years we’ve had 2 English teams in the final. When the bidding for this year’s final was taking place you had an English team in the final in successive years.
They are just rambling and giving €x¢u$€$.

Dan
Dan

Transperent decission…hmmm…like fifas decission to play a world cup in quatar…it’s money that’s all…and of course chance for a all London final wasn’t high, but the chance for a final with a team from the region there was even smaller! So…final will be played in a half empty stadium…great

Kwame Ampadu Down
Kwame Ampadu Down

‘For UEFA fans are a priority.’…brilliant. We’re thrilled.

Jonas
Jonas

“Men of sport”? “Glorious tradition”?
Did UEFA send that message via telegram?
Hey, if you’re going to be an ahole, might as well do it sounding like you’re doing so from 100 years ago. More prestigious that way, I guess.

the🚗2n
the🚗2n

Has the faint aroma of eau de patriarchy with subtle hints of misogyny.

215Arse
215Arse

Cunts

Russ
Russ

I don’t really know how this whole thing works or stands, but does any government or authority have a say in the way UEFA operates? The whole thing just stinks and I can’t help but feel that enough is enough.

Willie Young
Willie Young

Helsinki is easy to get to (Direct Flights) and is a great city to visit.

John C
John C

And it’s in Europe

CoNr
CoNr

They are quick enough to get a reply out when they called out for being a bunch of corrupt money grabbing twats… but still no word on guaranteeing a players safety which should be the main concern

Hi-brid
Hi-brid

There’s always the £979 Thomas Cook Sport option, for which you would have to buy your match ticket first and then hope they grant you a place on board. You could buy your ticket and visa, then be randomly selected to collect the ticket in Baku, be denied a place on the Thomas Cook voyage and then pay over 2 grand for an eleven hour journey each way with a stop-off in Turkey. Can’t think why we can’t sell our ticket allocation. What’s not to like?

Giroudimental
Giroudimental

Not predictable?!

They were both in the top 5 of the fucking betting to win the damned thing.

Clowns.

Hantal
Hantal

Complete bollocks

It’s a perfect example of corporate nothing speak. I really hope nobody believes a cheaper option is coming or they’ll end up paying even more last minute

Runzac
Runzac

Someone, probably more than one, made a shitload of money deriving from this decision

Dennis Elbow
Dennis Elbow

Dear uefa,
Being a footbal organisation that doesn’t care about anything except money, I would like to tell you to FUCK OFF!

Goonermay 68
Goonermay 68

Seen every final ARSENAL been involved since 68. Why not Chelsea and ARSENAL tell em to stuff it! Then whos got red faces then with NO TV MONEY

Gooner_IL
Gooner_IL

Football for all fans, unless they happen to come from Armenia. Then they can fuck off!!!!

02ba
02ba

Sounds like the kind of letter that deserves a… pah more euro bullshit!. Even uefa know how to waffle like a politician.

Andy Mack
Andy Mack

It’s guaranteed that at least one senior UEFA member is on a really good earner from this game being played in the middle of nowhere. It’s all about the money for them.

Alex
Alex

All good and well but what about a new way of thinking? Why not make the bidding process after the semi finals? These are stadiums which host football matches for a living. Wembley could put this on in a fortnight as could many others.

I also don’t understand why I can’t drink from a plastic straw anymore but flying 60,000 brits (mainly) to the outer limits of Europe is fine

Clockendrider
Clockendrider

Baku is the outer limits of Europe in the same way that Manchester is a suburb of London.

Reg Lewis
Reg Lewis

The Arsenal used to be a club with a stiff and stern upper lip. Arsenal never used to cry about petty things. They were smarter, more polite, classy. I guess when a club is owned and overseen by a bunch slimeballs this is what you get. The club is a joke, a sick one.

Goonish Finner
Goonish Finner

Hey, Helsinki is not an issue! With two-to-four hour flight times from most European capitals, Helsinki airport is a major international hub between Europe and Asia with high capacity and direct connections to all corners of the Old World. The city is swell too, with loads of Nordic charm, international vibes and wide array of accommodation options!

The Olympic Stadium is also considered a classic piece of mid-century funcionalist architecture, hosting a proper European event there would be awesome.

Paul Roberts
Paul Roberts

“It goes without saying that an all-English final played by two London teams was not a very predictable event at the time of the appointment.”
What?? So you didn’t expect two teams from the best league in the world to get to the final in this second rate competition? Really UEFA??? Don’t piss down our backs and tell us it’s raining!!

Andy Mack
Andy Mack

If it was a French team and a Spanish (or Portuguese/Italian/German/Dutch) team, Baku would still be in the middle of nowhere and a horrible journey for their supporters.
What team with a decent shout at winning is from anywhere near Baku????
It’s a location which is a fucking stupid idea and only happened because the UEFA officials were undoubtedly given bribes.

Shmokin'em
Shmokin'em

“Our experts are keenly working on this matter with a view to help find cheaper solutions for travelling fans. We would welcome a joint effort with your club in this respect”. This sentence is the whole reason UEFA even bothered to reply!! They want us to chip in for cheap travel! #Unfuckingreal. I dont even have Twitter but hey

Onenil
Onenil

We have a climate crisis and the overpaid clowns who run football think the best place for a game between 2 London clubs is 5000 km from London.
So let’s all Fly to Baku For No Reason At All.
If we let idiots decide how we run our lives we deserve extinction.

Chris Humphrey
Chris Humphrey

Well. That was an enthralling read!
Thank you for letter, pleased to f**k your fans over.
I was actually expecting our beloved Club to announce that they were going to screen the final at the Emirates like the last 2 FA Cup finals we were in.
Nothing. It was then mentioned that the stadium is closed for the close season (but it ain’t over until the fat lady sings?) whilst 800 new Platinum level seats are installed. Silent Stan will be glad to hear that’s 800 x £3k a pop more for his “divi”up. So again, f**k the fans.

Clockendrider
Clockendrider

I’m no fan of Stan but that was a pretty tortuously tendentious way of getting to have a go at him.

GraeB
GraeB

Up vote for getting tortuously and tendentious onto arseblog!

Clockendrider
Clockendrider

Can’t beat a bit of Arsenal alliteration.

Clockendrider
Clockendrider

A cursory search of the steam powered interweb shows that on the day of the final there are no direct flights to Baku from London. Or Paris. Or Munich. Or Turin. Or Milan. Or Rome. Or Barcelona. Or Madrid.
Further examination of aforementioned electronic marvel shows that there are no direct flights at all to Baku from Spain.
UEFA, please explain how your pathetic, risible, shitshow of an explanation is anything other than the most feeble kind of deflection employed by such skilled exponents of bullshittery as Mourinho or May.

Paul
Paul
Goonerink

The final should be at the holders ground.
That way no one can bribe their way into hosting games and the current holders get their goodbye.

This might lead to more Madrid repeats though. Current holders in the final playing at home and all that.