Cesc Fabregas slammed the decision to hold the Europa League final in Baku after thousands of seats were left unsold for Chelsea’s victory over Arsenal.
The build-up to the showpiece final was beset with controversy over the difficulties faced by fans in travelling to Azerbaijan, with both clubs failing to sell their 6,000 ticket allocations.
Fabregas, who played for both clubs, believes the final should have been moved after two London sides reached the final of the competition and called the atmosphere ‘strange’.
Thousands of seats were left empty for the Europa League final at Baku Olympic Stadium
Former Arsenal and Chelsea midfielder called for UEFA to put the supporters first
Fabregas told BT Sport: ‘Something should have changed. As players we play the game, but the fans are everything in football.
‘Players come and go but the fans are the ones who remain there. So many of my friends could be but they can’t because they cannot afford it and it’s so far.
‘It would make sense for me with two London teams, play at Old Trafford, play at Wembley. You have to think more of the fans.’
Arsenal did not sell their full allocation of 6,000 tickets for the final, and neither did Chelsea
Eden Hazard scored twice, with Olivier Giroud and Pedro also on target for Chelsea in victory, while Alex Iwobi netted Arsenal’s consolation.
Fellow pundit Martin Keown was also openly critical of the decision to host the final in Baku, resulting in difficult and expensive journeys for fans.
Keown added: it’s been a logistical nightmare. Everyone here really deserves a medal for being here.
‘It’s a real shame, the big European nights, you’re sharing with fans. The buildups lacking a bit at the moment. They’re telling us it’s gonna be a full stadium, but made up of local people.
Martin Keown (L) and Eidur Gudjohnsen (C) were also heavily critical of the location of the final
Eidur Gudjohnsen said: ‘Something has to change. Let;’s face it, football is global, we don’t mind an event taking place in a place like this.
‘But then you have to think 2 steps further, what’s it gonna take, the travel, accommodation.
‘Another thing they’re talking about, we might see a football stadium, but will we get the gist of what’s a London derby away from home. I don’t think so because we don’t have the core fans.’
Original article: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-7084239/Cesc-Fabregas-criticises-decision-hold-Europa-League-final-Baku-thousands-seats.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ito=1490&ns_campaign=1490