UEFA are facing the prospect of major Europa League embarrassment with Arsenal and Chelsea fans shunning the final in Baku.

European finals involving English sides have traditionally seen as many as 40,000 from each club descend on host cities.

But the extortionate costs and ludicrous travel problems associated with getting to Azerbaijan mean more than half the 12,000 tickets allocated to the two London clubs are likely to be returned.

Both Arsenal and Chelsea were given individual allocations of 6,000 for the match, which kicks off at midnight local time next Wednesday.

SunSport understands the Gunners have only shifted around 3,500 with little sign any more will be sold in the build-up to the match.

And fewer than 2,000 Chelsea fans have purchased seats from their allocation as the folly of having to trek to the Eastern-most edge of Europe hits home.

As soon as both teams qualified for the final, the price of flights to Baku escalated to over £1,300 – and local hotels have vastly increased the price of rooms in a blatant attempt to cash in on football fans.


Both clubs have excellent numbers of supporters who usually travel abroad to follow the team in action – but this time they are being priced out.

It means Uefa now faces the prospect of the showpiece match being beamed around the world showing thousands of empty seats.

That comes on the back of Arsenal deciding they could not take Henrikh Mkhitaryan to Azerbaijan for the match amid fears for his safety.

Even sponsors have found it hard to take up their full allocations because of lack of a decent transport infrastructure being able to cope with so many flying in and out.

Uefa said in a statement: "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.

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

"The specificity of the UEFA Europa League final, when compared with the UEFA Champions League final, is the high volatility in the number of fans following the two finalist teams.

"Experience from all previous finals tells us that the numbers may be very inconsistent from team to team and from final to final.

"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."

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