Arsenal said it is “bitterly disappointed” in UEFA’s allocation and transport limitations for the Europa League final in Baku, Azerbaijan.
The European governing body for football allocated just 6,000 tickets to both Arsenal and Chelsea in the 68,700-seater Olympic Stadium, due to travel issues and limitations.
UEFA defended its decision stating that the size of Baku’s airport meant that only around 15,000 fans would be able to travel to Azerbaijan from abroad. The governing body said offering more tickets would therefore “not be a responsible option”.
The London club released a statement on Arsenal.com expressing its concerns over the governing body’s decision, and called upon UEFA to ensure supporter logistics and requirements “are a key part of future decisions” for final venues.
It read: “We are bitterly disappointed by the fact that due to transport limitations UEFA can only make a maximum of 6,000 tickets available to Arsenal for a stadium with a capacity of well over 60,000. Time will tell if it is even possible for 6,000 Arsenal fans to attend the match, given how extreme the travel challenges are.
“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. The reality is that whoever reached the final would not be able to meet demand from their supporters.
“We have received many complaints from our fans about this and we fully share their concerns.
“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. We would be happy to join any future discussions to avoid this situation happening again.”
Image: Kieran Lynam