To the Baku beyond

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Chelsea fans are having to travel to the Baku beyond after their narrow win on penalties against Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League semi second leg at the Bridge.

Eden Hazard’s winning goal was enough to guarantee a ‘full English’ for Premier League clubs, with Spurs and Liverpool facing each other in the Champions League final in Spain, and Arsenal and Chelsea meeting in the Europa final.

But the trek to Azerbaijan – 2,500 miles, and you need a visa – appears daunting to all but the richest and most resourceful, or the fans with most time on their hands. The Baku Olympic stadium seems an absurd prospect for a final when the two London clubs are just eight miles apart in the UK capital.

To rub salt in the wounds, Chelsea and Arsenal SHARE 12,000 tickets for the game, in a stadium which holds 68,700.

Tim Rolls of the Chelsea Supporters’ Trust told the BBC that the 6,000-seat allocation for the Blues was “totally inadequate”, never mind the problem of getting to Baku, which pipped Seville and Istanbul to the right to stage the final.

Rolls is flying to Tbilisi, Georgia, before taking a seven-hour bus journey. “Baku is one of the most inaccessible cities in Europe from the UK,” said Rolls. “There are few flights, and those that there are are prohibitively expensive. The Chelsea and Arsenal £979 charter flight is ludicrously expensive and prohibitive.

“The people who have been to a load of Chelsea games and away from home – maybe 40 to 50 matches this season – simply cannot go. It must be about the worst location there is.”