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'Cheaper solutions' for EL final travel

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By Joe Tanner

Last Updated: 17/05/19 2:45pm

The National Stadium in Baku, Azerbaijan has a 69,870 capacity

UEFA say they are working to "help find cheaper solutions" for Arsenal and Chelsea supporters travelling to the Europa League final in Azerbaijan.

Arsenal and Chelsea face each other in Baku on May 29 and both clubs have declared their disappointment at the ticket allocation for the match, with both receiving in the region of 6,000 for a stadium which has a capacity of 69,870.

Supporters coming from the UK will be making an estimated 2,500 mile round-trip to the Caucasus state, return flights from London are currently priced at around £1,000.

On Thursday, UEFA competitions director Giorgio Marchetti wrote a letter to Arsenal, highlighting issues raised.

0:37 Azerbaijan sports minister Azad Rahimov has defended the decision to make Baku the host venue for the Europa League final. Azerbaijan sports minister Azad Rahimov has defended the decision to make Baku the host venue for the Europa League final.

"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," the statement read.

"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.

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

Arsenal travelled to Azerbaijan to face Quarabag FK in the Europa League group stage

"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.

On the issue of ticket allocation, UEFA maintained the "high volatility in the number of fans following the two finalist teams" was always a factor - one which had been exacerbated by two well-supported English clubs making the final.

Azerbaijan authorities have changed visa requirements for supporters travelling to the Europa League final in Baku

The letter added: "It is therefore not advisable to establish the tickets quota of the two finalist teams as a proportion of capacity rather than on statistically based realistic figures."

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 tensions with neighbouring Azerbaijan.

Gunners midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan, captain of the Armenia national team, missed the Europa League group game against Qarabag in Baku earlier this season because of the issue.

Arsenal released a statement on Thursday declaring their "bitter disappointment" over the decision not to move the location of the final.

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