London fans set to make up less than 10% of attendance at Europa League final in Baku

Home / London fans set to make up less than 10% of attendance at Europa League final in Baku

The London derby takes place in a European final but few fans will travel due to the immense cost of hosting the match 2,864 miles away

The upcoming Europa League final between Chelsea and Arsenal in Baku will be one of the most poorly attended by fans travelling from the clubs’ home country.

English followers have been priced out of the end-of-season showpiece and just over 6,000 are expected to travel to Azerbaijan from London.

The two sides are amongst the most heavily supported teams in Europe but just over 3,000 fans apiece are expected, taking up just half the offered allocation from UEFA.

Less than 10 per cent of the 68,700-seat Baku Olympic Stadium will be filled by supporters from England but there will likely be fans from Eastern Europe and Asia due to the global popularity of the clubs.

In February, UEFA offered 37,500 tickets to worldwide football fans, excluding the ones provided to the fans of both finalists.

The local organising committee, national associations, commercial partners, broadcasters and corporate hospitality packages get the rest.

Travel and flight costs could reach as high as £3000 ($3800) for fans, as hotels and airlines cash in on the increased demand that the final has brought. For many English fans, direct flights are not an option with supporters facing multiple changeovers or even long bus journeys from neighbouring countries.

UEFA, however, have defended their choice of Baku as the host city in a recent statement.

“It goes without saying that an all-English final played by two London teams was not a very predictable event at the time of the appointment,” said a letter from European football’s governing body.

“There is little doubt that this has added significant difficulties to the event logistics.

“We are really sorry for the problems that your fans are encountering trying to organise their journey to Baku.

“Our experts are keenly working on this matter with a view to help find cheaper solutions for travelling fans. We would welcome a joint effort with your club in this respect.”

Arsenal and the managers of both teams have criticised the decision to host the final in Baku in recent days. There is further controversy surrounding Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who has declined to travel for the match due to security fears.

The Armenia international isn’t willing to risk his safety due to an ongoing war between his native country and the host of the final.

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