‘They have been unable or unwilling to help supporters’: Chelsea fans slam club for their radio silence and lack of support on issues facing fans trying to attend Europa League final in Baku… with latest flights starting from £783
- Chelsea fans have slammed their own club for a lack of help and support
- Supporters are struggling to afford a trip to the Europa League final in Baku
- Mounting costs and a lengthy journey mean most fans are sending back tickets
- Arsenal released a statement condemning UEFA but Chelsea have not followed
Both Chelsea and Arsenal are set to return thousands of tickets for the final and a statement from Blues fans claim the club has offered no help with the ‘travel, expense and logistics’ of reaching Azerbaijan’s capital.
But, while the Gunners have publicly slammed the decision by UEFA to stage the final in Baku, Chelsea have been accused of ignoring suggestions from the fans and the problems they are facing.
Chelsea have been accused of offering no help to fans wanting to go to the Europa League final
In a statement, the Chelsea Supporters Trust said: ‘We are extremely disappointed that Chelsea FC have been unable or unwilling to help Chelsea supporters overcome the travel, expense and logistics in order for them to support the team in a European final. This, in spite of the Chelsea Supporters Trust’s suggestions as to how the club could offer material help to supporters wishing to go to Baku.
‘We suggested providing a subsidy for travelling supporters, having calculated the negligible financial impact on the club given the revenue earned from the competition this season. This is pertinent when considering that Chelsea FC’s travel partner, Thomas Cook, is charging an extortionate £979 for the official package for the day trip to Baku.
‘Furthermore, the late notice of the UK airport to be used for both departure and return means it is hard for travellers to plan.
UEFA’s decision to award a major European final to Baku has come under major scrutiny
‘The price for Thomas Cook’s package is more expensive than most season tickets, and again it is disappointing that the club did not feel they could offer supporters an extension for season ticket renewals, as they have done before when Chelsea supporters faced additional expense due to the club’s participation in a European final. Tottenham Hotspur, for example, have extended their season ticket renewals to help supporters’ cash flow.
‘Chelsea is the only club of the four English European finalists insisting all of their supporters collect their tickets from a designated ticket pick-up location, even though tickets are clearly freely available. To compound things, supporters cannot take advantage of the free travel in Baku until they have their match ticket. Surely Chelsea could have re-thought their policy in lieu of the exceptional circumstances of the trip to Baku?
‘The lack of a statement from Chelsea FC is also disappointing. Arsenal FC, issued a statement expressing frustration and disappointment on behalf of their supporters; acknowledging the unsuitability of the venue, the challenges faced by supporters travelling to Baku and the need to ensure more care by UEFA in future venue selection. While this may not make any difference to UEFA’s immediate decision making, at the very least it sent out a message to their supporters that they were concerned about the difficulties they face and were on their side.
Fans of Chelsea and Arsenal are set to return thousands of tickets because of mounting costs
‘A similar statement from Chelsea would have engendered some much-needed goodwill from the supporters.’
Fans who cannot attend the Champions League final are able to watch the game at Tottenham’s new stadium or at an arena in Liverpool with both clubs hosting screenings.
The Chelsea Supporters Trust called on their club to do the same but believe they have now ‘missed a great opportunity to benefit from another gesture of goodwill’.
The statement added: ‘And, given the large numbers of Chelsea supporters who are extremely disappointed in not being able to get to Baku to support the team, we believe that Chelsea FC have missed a great opportunity to benefit from another gesture of goodwill by facilitating a ‘live broadcast’ or ‘beam back’ of the match, at Stamford Bridge or another suitable venue.
‘This would have been very well received and while never able to replace the experience of being in Baku, it might have mitigated some of the disappointment.’