Sarri and Emery frustrated at Baku travel issues surrounding Europa League final
Maurizio Sarri and Unai Emery both expressed their frustration at the travel issues that mean so few Chelsea and Arsenal fans have been able to make it to Azerbaijan for the Europa League final.
The Premier League sides are separated by just six miles in London, yet those wanting to watch their side compete for continental glory have had to make a nearly 5,000-mile round trip to Baku.
Offered a mere 6,000 tickets per club, neither have managed to get anywhere near selling out due to the fact it takes too long or is too costly to head east to Azerbaijan for the match.
Those problems have dominated the build-up to the Europa League final and left Chelsea boss Sarri unimpressed.
“I don’t know what to say about the problems,” he said. “You’ll have to ask UEFA, the clubs.
“I am really very disappointed because we do this job for this kind of match, and so we hope to see our fans here. I don’t know what to say. I can say only that we will try to win.
“We will try to win for us and also for them.”
Arsenal have also had to deal with the complication of Azerbaijan’s tensions with Armenia.
Some season ticket holders with dual British and Armenian citizenship were denied visas, while attacking midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan decided to stay at home despite assurances about his safety.
There appeared more Arsenal than Chelsea shirts around Baku on the eve of the final but Emery would have liked more to have been able to make it.
“It’s not in my hands,” the Gunners head coach said. “I played also one Super Cup final with Sevilla against Barcelona in Tblisi, Georgia, three years ago.
“They have their reasons to play here and I must respect these decisions.
“After, yes, I prefer to play with our supporters here, that a lot of supporters can come here from us and from Chelsea from London, but it’s difficult for this flight.
“But tomorrow there are going to be a lot of supporters in England and all the world because Arsenal and Chelsea have a lot of supporters in the world.
“Here the same. I think there can also be a lot of supporters from Azerbaijan and from closer to this country to help us in the stadium.
“I am thinking tomorrow this big, amazing stadium will be full with all of the supporters for Arsenal, Chelsea and also for the football because I think it is one match with two very, very great teams.
“We know we are going to play for our supporters here or in London.”