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UEFA to see thousands of tickets returned from sponsors, clubs

UEFA sponsors are set to follow the lead of Arsenal and Chelsea’s move to return thousands of tickets for next week’s Europa League final amid widespread outrage over allocations and travel issues.

Baku’s Olympic Stadium could potentially see a mass of empty seats as several sponsors are said to be returning a large proportion of the 2,000 tickets they were given by the governing body.

Due to the high costs and logistical nightmare of traveling to Azerbaijan’s capital city, some companies have been hard-pressed to give away tickets.

The two Premier League clubs have also announced plans to return a total of over 6,000 tickets, which is higher than half of the initial allocations.

Arsenal has only sold 3,500 tickets to date, while Chelsea has shifted a mere 2,000 of its 6,000 allocation, which is less than 10 per cent of the stadium’s 69,000 capacity.

The returned tickets will be placed on general resale for local fans, with more than 23,000 passes already sold in Azerbaijan.

Last week, Arsenal said it is “bitterly disappointed” in UEFA’s allocation and transport limitations for the tournament, which UEFA defended by stating that the size of Baku’s airport meant that only around 15,000 fans would be able to travel to Azerbaijan from abroad.

Image: Baku Olympic Stadium