Arsenal and Chelsea send back 6,000 unsold tickets for Europa League final
Arsenal and Chelsea have sent back 6,000 unsold tickets for the Europa League final to UEFA.
The governing body is facing the embarrassment of large sections of the Olympic Stadium in Baku being empty for the final next Wednesday.
Supporters from both London-based clubs are reluctant to make the 5,000-mile round trip to Azerbaijan’s capital.
The Gunners have sold more than 3,000 tickets and a further 500 have been purchased by fans from around the world, but Chelsea have fared worse.
Arsenal and Chelsea are set to compete in the Europa League finalGetty Images
The Blues still have 4,000 of their 6,000 allocation unsold, with the club joining Arsenal in sending the remaining tickets back to UEFA.
Both Arsenal and Chelsea teamed up with travel partner Thomas Cook Football in a bid to boost numbers with four chartered planes, but it has proven a hard sell and supporters can no longer buy tickets through the clubs.
High costs and limited flight availability have deterred fans, with many initially complaining over just 10 per cent of the stadium’s 69,000 capacity being allocated to each club.
Arsenal fans have returned half of their official ticket allocationGetty Images
Supporters who have decided to make the trip will have had to secure a visa ahead of making the five-hour flight, before contending with the 11pm local time kick-off.
Sponsors have an allocation of less than 2,000, while 23,000 tickets have already been bought by local supporters. All returned tickets will go on general sale, but it is unlikely the demand will meet the stadium's capacity.
The news comes after Arsenal midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s decision to miss the final after expressing fears for his safety due to the political tensions between the player's homeland Armenia and Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh region.