Sponsors are set to follow Arsenal and Chelsea and return the majority of the 2,000 tickets they have been given by UEFA for next week’s Europa League.
The spectacle, which takes place on May 29, will be held at the Baku Olympic Stadium in Azerbaijan – 2,500 miles and 20 hours away by plane from London.
Arsenal and Chelsea plan on returning over 6,000 tickets leaving UEFA facing major embarrassment, as the almost 70,000 capacity stadium would be nowhere near full.
The location and cost is proving a serious issue to supporters, meaning Arsenal and Chelsea have only managed to shift 3,500 and 2,000 tickets respectively, The Times reports.
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Travel to Baku, which lies further east than Baghdad and Riyadh, is also proving an issue for those fans who have qualified for a match ticket.
UEFA’s decision to award less than 6,000 tickets to both London clubs was originally met with derision from the footballing world.
Driving the distance would take upwards of 50 hours behind the wheel, while a train journey could last as long as four days.
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With the cheapest flights – which include a stop-over in Turkey – expected to cost fans more than £1,200, the two Premier League clubs are not going to even sell out their small allocations.
Furthermore, Arsenal are also liaising with the Foreign Office after it emerged season-ticket holders with dual British and Armenian citizenship have been denied visas to visit Baku because of Azerbaijani tensions with Armenia.
Arsenal midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan is himself Armenian, and it was confirmed earlier this week he will not travel for the final due to concerns for his safety in Azerbaijan.
The decision was made to omit Mkhitaryan from Unai Emery’s travelling squad after the midfielder held talks with his family.
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