Europa League final: Uefa offers Arsenal help with fan travel to Baku

Google Maps directions from London to Baku Olympic Stadium
The most direct route to drive from London to the Baku Olympic Stadium passes through a closed border crossing 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

Uefa has offered to work with Arsenal to help fans attend the club's Europa League final against Chelsea in Baku, Azerbaijan on 29 May.

The London clubs will share just 12,000 of 68,700 seats at the Olympic Stadium.

Arsenal issued a statement on Thursday asking for the criteria Uefa uses to choose venues given "how extreme the travel challenges are" to get to Baku.

In its response, Uefa defended how venues are chosen and stated it would like to work with Arsenal to help fans.

"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 Uefa, 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 (and Chelsea's) 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."

There are currently no direct scheduled flights between London and Baku in the week of the final.

The only way to fly direct to the capital of Azerbaijan for the game would be to leave London on Saturday, 25 May.

If you want to fly to the game on the day then a lengthy wait in cities such as Istanbul or Kiev would be needed.

"The bidding process for a club competition final is generally held a couple of years in advance, meaning that the exact circumstances in which the final will have to be organised cannot be known at the time of the appointment," added Uefa.

"Mobility and accommodation are obviously key criteria falling under evaluation, with airport capacity being an important element."

In their statement, Arsenal said they were "bitterly disappointed" with the allocation for the two finalists.

In February, Uefa said 37,500 tickets would be sold to fans worldwide via their website, excluding those later offered to the two clubs reaching the final.

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

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