Baku Shows Uefa Aren’t Working For Fans
The decision to hold the final in Baku makes no sense on any level
The decision by Uefa to stage the Europa League Final in Baku is one that shows that football is no longer about the fans, if there were any doubt left.
Not only is Baku so far away from the two finalists that it is neigh on impossible to travel to but the costs involved would also put of even the most ardent of football fans.
Why is it being held in Baku?
I accept that football’s showpiece finals should be spread out between the member nations but why does the decision of where to hold the final have to be taken two years in advance?
There is always a chance that the final could be contested between two teams from the same nation or at the very least two teams in neighbouring countries.
The Europa League Final will be contested between Chelsea and Arsenal, both English teams and both from London. The situation wouldn’t be much different had one of the teams been from France, Germany or Spain.
Instead it would make much more sense to select a host stadium in the winter break preceding the knockout games.
How much planning really goes in place? The teams don’t know they are competing in the final more than a month in advance so what planning does the venue really need to do in order to host a final?
Same, same but different
The same situation applies to the Champions League Final to be held in Madrid between Liverpool and Tottenham. At least in this case the hosting city is one with a big international airport and is only a 2 hour flight away compared to a 6 or 7 hour travel for Baku.
The selection of venue for the Champions League Final should have been held in the preceding winter too. Failing that, have 4 stadia on standby to host the final, it isn’t as if UEFA can’t afford to do so.
There is almost a whole month between the semi-finals finishing and the final. Plenty of time in my opinion and while I think hosting the final in England would take something away from it being a European Final it could easily have been switched to Paris or Amsterdam where there are direct train services by Eurostar.
I’m not the biggest eco warrior on the planet but I think if we can do something to help the climate then why not? Switching to LED bulbs is a pretty minor thing, be it for domestic use or in the community street lights.
So why does it make sense to sent two teams to the other side of the world, in the case of Baku, or to the southern most point of Europe to Spain?
Football should not be political
This is all about money and this is without even mentioning that one of the Arsenal players feels he can’t travel because of concerns about his safety.
But it’s okay, we can learn from this can’t we? No, probably not because Baku will host a European Championships knockout game in 2020!
Any nation who threatens the safety of a member of another team should not be allowed to compete or host a game. End of.
The whole situation is ridiculous and it shows there is still a rotten core to this apple.