Arsenal have released a strongly worded statement condemning UEFA’s decision to host the upcoming Europa League final in Baku.
Unai Emery’s side will meet London rivals Chelsea in the Azerbaijani capital, but both clubs have been allocated just 12,000 tickets between them.
The political tensions between the host country and neighbouring Armenia has presented a further problem with Henrikh Mkhitaryan unlikely to be granted access to the country, as was the case earlier in the competition when Arsenal beat Qarabag during the group stages.
‘Everyone at Arsenal is delighted to have reached the Uefa Europa League final and we are all very much looking forward to the match against Chelsea on Wednesday, May 29,’ read a statement on Arsenal’s official website.
‘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.’