Regardless of what people may think about its status relative to its big brother, reaching a final of a European cup competition is a big damn deal, and something to be celebrated. As this is Arsenal’s first European final since 2006, it could be assumed that a lot of Arsenal fans would want to make the pilgrimage to Baku to watch their favorite team play in the final in person.
News emerged today from
the good people at UEFA that Arsenal and Chelsea are each to be allocated 6,000 seats for the final on the 29th. That’s...not a lot. I mean, yes, Baku is kind of a long way from anywhere - it’s a five hour flight time from London, 11.5 hours from New York, almost 13 from Portland (going over the pole saves a lot of time), and anywhere from 5-8 hours from south Asia. It’s even a three hour flight from Moscow.
In other words, from wherever you are outside of Azerbaijan, It’s not exactly a trivial effort to get there. And it’s not like there’s a lot of non-stop flights from anywhere to BakuAnd the game is on a Wednesday, which further limits the potential traveling pool because not everyone can take at a minimum two days off work. But for UEFA to decide in advance that they’re going to artificially limit the numbers of traveling fans, instead of opening up 15-20,000 seats at first and then selling the unused ones once they see what demand actually is, seems a little shortsighted.
The capacity of Baku Olympic Stadium is just a hair under 69,000. If every supporter seat is sold, that means that 17 percent of the seats will be going to fans, with the other 56,700 seats, or 83 percent of the capacity of the stadium, will be going to VIP’s of the other member states in the federation and to all of UEFA’s sponsors oh wait no never mind I get it now I forgot who soccer is for these days let’s all watch on TV at home.