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Arsenal fume over UEFA's 'unacceptable' Europa League final organisation


London, May 16: Arsenal have branded UEFA's decisions to host the Europa League final in Baku and only make 6,000 tickets available to the club as "unacceptable".

The Gunners are due to face Premier League rivals Chelsea in the Europa League final on May 29, but UEFA has come in for significant criticism regarding the organisation of the game, particularly after admitting it felt Baku was incapable of hosting more than 15,000 spectators "from abroad".

Europe's governing body have given Arsenal a ticket allocation of just 6,000, while Chelsea have been allowed 5,801, meaning officially only a fraction of the 68,700-capacity Olympic Stadium in Azerbaijan's capital will be taken up by the two clubs' supporters.

By comparison, Liverpool and Tottenham have each been given over 16,000 tickets for the Champions League final in the Wanda Metropolitano, a stadium with 700 fewer seats.

Supporters' groups have also been scathing of UEFA for hosting the game in Baku due to the logistical – and financial – challenges of getting to the city, and Arsenal are similarly unimpressed.

A strongly worded statement read: "Everyone at Arsenal is delighted to have reached the Europa League final and we are all very much looking forward to the match against Chelsea on Wednesday, May 29.

"However, 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."

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Story first published: Thursday, May 16, 2019, 16:00 [IST]
Other articles published on May 16, 2019
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