“Back of the net” one might shout, if either a Chelsea or Arsenal supporter, with delight on securing an Europa League Final ticket. Well, there’s little surprise that this is no mean feat.
The wisdom of UEFA sending our fans ‘off the beaten track’ to Baku shows once again the interests of loyal supporters are right at the back of the queue. Each of these English Clubs get a mere 6,000 allocation.
Well atleast due diligence must have been done on the suitability of Azerbaijan to host such a flagship event? Think again! The BBC website announces: “The most direct route to drive from London to the Baku Olympic Stadium passes through a closed border crossing and an area of eastern Ukraine in which Russian-backed rebels are confronting Ukrainian troops along a mainly static frontline. To avoid those issues, one option is to travel via Istanbul, as with this route, a journey estimated to take 59 hours of driving time”. Appealing, eh?
There is a 68,700 capacity in the Olympic Stadium in Baku. Surely the excessive UEFA/FIFA entourage could have taken less to allow the hard pressed fans of each team to follow their respective clubs. 6,000 each is pitiful – especiaslly having gone through war trodden zones in the name of loyal support.
To top.it all: “Arsenal and Chelsea fans face an arduous 2,500 mile journey to watch the two London teams battle it out for the Europa League title in Baku.” Estimated costs per person for a two-day trip are £1,400.
Whoever said the fans come first?