Arsenal want UEFA explanation after 'unacceptable' Europa League final ticket debacle

Unai Emery Arsenal Baku 2019
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The Gunners have, along with opponents Chelsea, been given just 6,000 tickets for the European showpiece that will be staged in Baku on May 29

Arsenal have called on UEFA to explain its decision to stage the Europa League final in Baku - labelling the current situation as "unacceptable" as fans continue to try and find a way of getting to the game against Chelsea on May 29.

Despite only receiving 6,000 tickets for the showpiece event, the Gunners have yet to sell out their allocation due to the difficulties supporters are finding in terms of travelling to Azerbaijan.

Prices for any remaining flights have rocketed to well beyond £1,000 - meaning fans will have to pay more than they do for some season tickets at the Emirates Stadium just to get to Baku. That’s before accommodation and spending money are factored in

It’s also been revealed that Arsenal are currently liaising with the Foreign Office after some season-ticket holders with dual British and Armenian citizenship have been denied visas to travel to Baku.

Relations between Armenia and neighbouring Azerbaijan remain hostile over the disputed Nagorno Karabakh region, where a ceasefire was declared in 1994 after fighting erupted several years earlier.

Gunners star and Armenia captain Henrikh Mkhitaryan is unlikely to feature in the final due to these tensions, with the Gunners claiming UEFA have yet to be able to guarantee Mkhitaryan’s safety while he is in Baku.

And it has emerged that some Armenian Arsenal fans are seeing their requests for visas rejected ahead of the final.

Arsenal have now issued a strongly-worded statement about the situation in which the club reveals it has received "many complaints" from supporters regarding the issues they are finding making it to Azerbaijan.

Olympic Stadium Baku

The Gunners say they are "bitterly disappointed" and that it is "simply not right" that so many of their fans are going to have to miss the club's first European final since 2006. The north London club has also called on UEFA to explain the process behind how venues are selected to host finals.

The statement reads: "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.

"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.

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"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."