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Arsenal left 'bitterly disappointed' over Europa League final venue choice

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Arsenal demand answers from UEFA on Baku Europa League final and say they still don’t know if 6,000 fans will be able to make it to the game

  • Arsenal are ‘bitterly disappointed’ by the Europa League final venue choice
  • Supporters are finding it difficult to find affordable travel to Baku, Azerbaijan
  • Fans must embark on a 2,500-mile trip to attend the game later this month
  • Both clubs have received a dismal ticket allocation at the 68,000-seater venue 

Arsenal have admitted they are ‘bitterly disappointed’ by the mounting challenges their fans are facing in reaching the Europa League final.

The Gunners are set to play Premier League rivals Chelsea in the competition’s showpiece on May 29.

However, the final venue in Baku, Azerbaijan is proving problematic for supporters with travel arrangements proving difficult to sort.

Arsenal have admitted they are 'bitterly disappointed' by the venue for the Europa League final

Arsenal have admitted they are ‘bitterly disappointed’ by the venue for the Europa League final

The Gunners have released a statement voicing their concerns about the issues fans are facing

The Gunners have released a statement voicing their concerns about the issues fans are facing

The Gunners have released a statement voicing their concerns about the issues fans are facing

Only seven miles separates the London teams’ stadiums, but their fans must embark on a 2,500-mile trip to attend the game.

There are only three scheduled flights per week between London and Baku, but all seats are sold out in the days before and after the match – other non-direct flights can take over 10 hours.

Driving the distance would take upwards of 50 hours behind the wheel, while a train journey could last as long as four days.

They have also been given an abysmal allocation of just 6,000 tickets, despite the stadium being capable of holding over 60,000 fans.

A statement from the club read: ‘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.

‘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.

The Gunners are set to play Premier League rivals Chelsea in the final on May 29 in Baku

The Gunners are set to play Premier League rivals Chelsea in the final on May 29 in Baku

The Gunners are set to play Premier League rivals Chelsea in the final on May 29 in Baku

Only seven miles separate the teams but fans must embark on a 2,500-mile trip for the final

Only seven miles separate the teams but fans must embark on a 2,500-mile trip for the final

Only seven miles separate the teams but fans must embark on a 2,500-mile trip for the final

‘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.’

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 travel to Baku.

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

Arsenal’s 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.

The club are now working with UEFA in the hope safety measures can be put in place to allow the 30-year-old to travel for the final as part of Unai Emery’s squad.

Now some supporters face the same issue, with several British-Armenian season-ticket holders not being granted entry into Azerbaijan. 

It is understood Arsenal are now in talks with the Foreign Office in an attempt to ease the situation.  



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Video and Photos: Liverpool training ahead of Arsenal game

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Liverpool have been training at their Melwood base as they step up their preparations for this weekend’s Premier League clash with Arsenal. The…

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Ex-Arsenal man Emmanuel Frimpong reveals his disdain for Samir Nasri after series of bust-ups

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‘Even if he gives me five billion dollars, I will still not like him’: Emmanuel Frimpong reveals his disdain for Samir Nasri and the full story behind his bust-ups with former Arsenal team-mate

  • Emmanuel Frimpong has revealed he does not like Samir Nasri at all
  • The two former team-mates had a series of bust-ups on and off the pitch
  • Frimpong said their problems started after Nasri blamed a defeat on him
  • He said Nasri was a bully and didn’t understand responsibilities as a senior player

Former Arsenal midfielder Emmanuel Frimpong has lifted the lid on his personal feud with Samir Nasri.

The pair were involved in several altercations on and off the pitch down the years during times when they were both team-mates and opponents.

Frimpong’s relationship with Nasri first became fractured after the Frenchman blamed him for Arsenal’s defeat against Liverpool back in August 2011.

Emmanuel Frimpong has revealed his disdain for former Arsenal team-mate Samir Nasri

Emmanuel Frimpong has revealed his disdain for former Arsenal team-mate Samir Nasri 

The midfielder, then 19, was making only his second Premier League appearance for the Gunners, but was sent off in the 70th minute for a second bookable offence with the score goalless. Liverpool made the most of their numerical advantage and went on to win the game 2-0.

‘Nobody needed to tell me that what I did was stupid,’ Frimpong told the Athletic. ‘After the game, everybody came into the changing room and Arsene [Wenger] was quiet. Then Nasri basically stood up in front of everybody and said we lost the game because of me.

‘OK, I can understand that, but I was thinking, “Why would somebody — especially me playing, I think that was like my second game — why would any professional do that to a young player in that kind of moment?”‘

Nasri blamed Frimpong for Arsenal's loss against Liverpool in August 2011 after he was sent off

Nasri blamed Frimpong for Arsenal's loss against Liverpool in August 2011 after he was sent off

Nasri blamed Frimpong for Arsenal’s loss against Liverpool in August 2011 after he was sent off

But the friction between the two didn’t end there. Tempers reached boiling point again when Jack Wilshere wished Nasri good luck on his new venture after he left Arsenal to sign for Manchester City just months after that defeat against Liverpool.

Frimpong responded on Twitter: ‘Pffffff come on Jack.’ The tweet had angered Nasri to the point he rang up Alex Song and asked to speak to Frimpong after a training session at Arsenal’s London Colney base. 

‘I took the phone off Alex and it was Nasri on the phone threatening me, telling me that when he sees me, this that,’ Frimpong adds. ‘I told him, “I’m not one of the players that’s afraid of you. If you want us to sort it out as men, we can sort it out as men”.

‘To be honest, at that time when he left Arsenal, I could tell him what I actually thought about him because he wasn’t there so I could basically let him know my feelings. So I just told him that I don’t like him, I don’t respect him and I will never respect him as a professional player.’ 

The two clashed during Arsenal and Man City's League Cup quarter-final in November 2011

The two clashed during Arsenal and Man City's League Cup quarter-final in November 2011

The two clashed during Arsenal and Man City’s League Cup quarter-final in November 2011

Nasri is pictured pointing to the tunnel as the two exchange verbals at the end of the match

Nasri is pictured pointing to the tunnel as the two exchange verbals at the end of the match

Nasri is pictured pointing to the tunnel as the two exchange verbals at the end of the match

The two lined up against each other in November 2011 and repeatedly clashed in an ill-tempered League Cup quarter-final tie before exchanging verbals at the end of the match. Frimpong revealed Nasri also confronted him in the tunnel prior to kick-off.

‘During the game, he told me he could buy me,’ Frimpong adds. ‘That’s how stupid this guy is. He probably could then because he had millions, but that’s no respect.

‘That’s what happened. I feel like he was a bully, I feel like he didn’t know his responsibilities as a senior player to be able to help younger players.

 ‘I have always had so much respect for senior players. You can ask Aaron Ramsey, you can ask Jack Wilshere. I never disrespected anybody. But for me, the truth is I’ve never liked Nasri and I will never, ever like this guy. Even if he gives me five billion dollars, I will still not like him.’



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Photos: Chelsea’s Davide Zappacosta arrives in Italy to complete Roma move

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Chelsea right-back Davide Zappacosta arrived in Italy last night ahead of his season-long loan move to Roma. The 26-year-old former Torino player…

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