UEFA defends ticket allocation for Europa League final
UEFA has defended its decision to allocate only 6,000 tickets respectively to Chelsea and Arsenal for the Europa League final in Baku.
Arsenal's 7-3 aggregate win over Valencia and Chelsea's penalty shoot-out victory over Eintracht Frankfurt on Thursday set up an all-English encounter in Azerbaijan on May 29.
It is the first time the Premier League has had four representatives in both finals of Europe's top club tournaments, with Liverpool and Tottenham facing off for Champions League glory in Madrid on June 1.
However, fans of both Arsenal and Chelsea were left disappointed by an allocation of 6,000 tickets for each club, despite the Olympic Stadium in the Azeri capital having a capacity of close to 70,000.
UEFA, though, insists its ticketing policy is "responsible".
"Based on UEFA's recent experience with UEFA Europa League finals and the UEFA Super Cup in comparable venues the number of finalists' supporters requesting tickets for a UEFA Europa League final can vary greatly from club to club," a UEFA statement read.
"Of course, it is impossible to predict in advance which clubs will reach the final while the venue has to be chosen around two years in advance.
"Taking into consideration the above and most importantly the geographical location and logistical capacity of airports in and around the host city, it was deemed that around 15,000 spectators would be able to travel from abroad, with Baku as the main hub.
"Offering more tickets to fans of the participating teams, without any guarantee that they would be able to arrange suitable travel to reach Baku, was therefore not a responsible option.
"Based on these circumstances, for this year's UEFA Europa League final in Baku, 6,000 tickets have been made available to each of the finalists."
Arsenal stated on Thursday that they remained in discussions with UEFA over adding to their allocation, although an increase would appear unlikely.