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Arsenal criticizes selection of Baku as Europa League host
2019-05-17 10:34:21

The choice of Azerbaijan capital Baku to host the Europa League final has caused "unacceptable" and "extreme" travel problems for Arsenal fans, the English club said on Thursday.

Arsenal and Chelsea have been given just 6,000 tickets each by UEFA for the May 29 game, in a stadium with a capacity of 68,700.

Even those tickets may not sell out, Arsenal said, because of the difficulty of getting to Azerbaijan.

"Time will tell if it is even possible for 6,000 Arsenal fans to attend the match, given how extreme the travel challenges are," the club said.

"We have 45,000 season ticket holders and for so many fans to miss out due to UEFA selecting a final venue with such limited transport provision is quite simply not right."

There are relatively few flights to Baku from Western Europe, though more are being operated for the final, and prices are far above usual levels.

"We have received many complaints from our fans about this and we fully share their concerns," Arsenal said.

"On behalf of our fans, we would like to understand the criteria by which venues are selected for finals, and also how supporter requirements are taken into account as part of this. Moving forward we would urge UEFA to ensure that supporter logistics and requirements are a key part of any future decisions for final venues as what has happened this season is unacceptable, and cannot be repeated."

The Times reported earlier that British Armenian Arsenal fans are denied visa to Baku. The club also faces Henrikh Mkhitaryan dilemma because of the long-running tension due to the Karabakh conflict. .