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The Europa League farce: Chelsea and Arsenal fans face nightmare 2,850-mile journey to Baku

Arsenal and Chelsea supporters face paying up to a staggering £1,000 for return journey flights from London to Baku for the Europa League final.

The Premier League duo booked their place in the May 29 showdown on Thursday night and now attentions have turned to how fans will make their way to the Baku Olympic Stadium.

Only eight miles separate Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium ground to Chelsea’s home at Stamford Bridge but both clubs are being forced to play 2,850 miles away.

Chelsea are laying on a special day trip but it will cost £979 and the deal is only available for supporters of the west London club. 

Arsenal and Chelsea fans face a 2,850-mile trip to see their clubs battle it out in the final

Eight miles separate the two clubs but fans face a 2,850-mile trip to the Baku Olympic Stadium

Eight miles separate the two clubs but fans face a 2,850-mile trip to the Baku Olympic Stadium

Chelsea booked their place in the Europa League final by defeating Eintracht Frankfurt

Chelsea booked their place in the Europa League final by defeating Eintracht Frankfurt

Arsenal will face London rivals Chelsea in the Europa League final in Baku, Azerbaijan

Arsenal will face London rivals Chelsea in the Europa League final in Baku, Azerbaijan

Thomas Cook are offering Chelsea fans a day trip to Baku for a staggering £979.00

Thomas Cook are offering Chelsea fans a day trip to Baku for a staggering £979.00 

The flight details from London are yet to be confirmed on the Thomas Cook offer

The flight details from London are yet to be confirmed on the Thomas Cook offer

Fans vented their frustration towards UEFA after being notified of the travel arrangements

Fans vented their frustration towards UEFA after being notified of the travel arrangements

EUROPA LEAGUE FINAL 

Location: Baku Olympic Stadium

Time of KO: 11pm local time (8pm BST)

Capacity: 68,700

UEFA’s decision to host the final in Azerbaijan means fans will have to travel further east than capital cities in Saudi Arabia (Riyadh) and Iraq (Baghdad).

They may also have to fly to Istanbul or Kiev before changing planes – meaning the journey could take up to 10 hours.

It has turned out to be a logistical nightmare for supporters of both clubs as there are currently no direct flights from London to Baku scheduled for the week of the final.

Fans will also need to apply for a visa to enter Azerbaijan – leaving supporters with just 19 days to be given the green light to enter the country.

Many took to Twitter to vent their anger towards UEFA after being notified of the travel arrangements to Baku. 

Simon Smith wrote: ‘Can’t make the final, even if I could I think the farcical ticket allocation, process and cost of flights would have put me off. What are you playing at @UEFA @EuropaLeague? Only 6,000 tickets?!!’ 

Twitter user Mr Insight wrote: ‘Disgusting ticket allocation for the Europa League final. Only 12,000 tickets collectively for both sets of fans out of 70,000 capacity stadium. UEFA must do something about this for Chelsea and Arsenal – there must be some sort of recourse as they are conning the clubs. #uefa.’ 

Even Arsenal star Henrikh Mkhitaryan may not be able to attend the final as the Armenian may be denied a visa due to political tensions between his country and Azerbaijan.  

Supporters also face a scramble to get hold of a matchday ticket as both clubs have been given just 6,000 tickets each despite the fact the final will be held in a 68,700-seater stadium.

UEFA delegates and sponsors are usually given prestigious final tickets leaving loyal fans out in the cold and unable to support their team.  

After reaching the final by defeating Valencia 7-3 on aggregate, Arsenal sent out a club statement warning their fans of how much it will cost them to travel to Baku.

‘We want to stress to all supporters before they commit to registering their interest for this match, that there will be significant travel difficulties and cost implications.

‘There are very limited travel options to Baku, with a small number of available seats on scheduled flights from western Europe to Azerbaijan. We also estimate that return travel to Baku could cost supporters in excess of £1,000 per person.

‘We are working with Thomas Cook Sport to offer supporter travel to the match. Capacity is likely to be limited due to aircraft availability with it being half term week and just after the bank holiday. Thomas Cook Sport are looking to offer a limited number of day trip places to supporters who have purchased an official match ticket (subject to availability).’

Arsenal star Henrikh Mkhitaryan may not be able to travel to Baku because of tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan

Arsenal star Henrikh Mkhitaryan may not be able to travel to Baku because of tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan 

The north London outfit also revealed there will be four different ticket bands – £121, £78, £43 and £26.

Chelsea supporters wanting to go straight there and back face forking out £979 and that’s before they have to splash out more money on a matchday ticket.

Thomas Cook, who are Chelsea’s official travel partner, are offering the day trip through their website.

The same trip for last season’s Champions League group game against Qarabag, played at the same stadium, cost under £400 in November 2017.

This year’s final will kick off at 11pm local time in order to appease a Western audience meaning it could finish close to 2am if the match is decided on penalties.

 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk



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