Senior Pros Blast UEFA Over Baku

Here’s a thought. It strikes me that our outrage over Baku staging the Europa League final only arose because we’re in it. Will criticism of future host cities can continue throughout the summer? Gdansk hit the headlines with the murder of its’ mayor earlier this year (2020). Georgia, meanwhile, is “ranked as the third-most-homophobic country in the world” (2021). Plenty to get stuck into.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan didn’t believe the assurances given about his safety – and in a country which routinely breaks ceasefires, who can blame him – so misses out on what might be a highlight of his career. Petr Cech steadfastly refuses to comment on his future but found his plans splashed across the back pages. Fingers pointed at Chelski; the Russians won’t be happy until they’ve destroyed the EU and unsettled Arsenal ahead of the final.

The Cold War is back and it’s as mad as hell.

While all this was going on, Unai met the media. It’s “bad news” to lose Mkhitaryan, he opined, but he respected a “personal decision”. UEFA and the Azerbaijan FA used the same phrase. However, from them, it was altogether more sinister.

Emery refused to let UEFA off the hook, however. Moving the final remained their “responsibility” and he cited finals played in more accessible cities. Ever the optimist, he believes it will be a sellout 70,000 crowd, fuelling “a big atmosphere and…big emotion in the stadium”. Ticket sales at Arsenal must be better than widely reported.

Meanwhile, the players train “hard” or will be. Nine days without a break and I recall reading they fly to Azerbaijan this weekend. Linz, currently second in the Austrian Bundesliga, will provide some opposition in a behind-closed-doors friendly to keep up match sharpness but Emery underlined the focus is now on the final.

They Did The Skinhead Moonstomp On My Face

Having overseen a diplomatic response from the club, Vinai Venkatesham spoke on the affair at the FT Business of Football conference.

The Arsenal CEO…well, Vinai remained diplomatic. He’s jolly cross and intends on letting UEFA know it “face to face”. It’s a long way short of offering Aleksander Ceferin outside and nowhere near boycotting the final as some want Arsenal to do.

Laurent Koscielny voiced his disapproval more strongly:

I think Uefa needs to know about the different problems they can have with the politics in the country. When one country has a problem with another they should not give the final to that country.

The number of acceptable host cities plummets if we strictly apply that criteria.

Nacho Monreal applied a more human angle:

In this sense, UEFA should be more careful and know where you choose the venue for a final. It is not possible that there are players who can not play for political reasons. I do not believe that things are done well when these kinds of circumstances occur.

But there’s little sympathy for fans:

This happens every year. A stadium in which holds 70,000 and there are only 6,000 tickets for each of the two clubs. In the end, it is they who have the way or the ways to carry out that distribution. I am more concerned about the fact that we lose a player because he can not enter that country than the ticket issue.

Ultimately, he must be more concerned with the Mkhitaryan situation; it directly affects the squad. However, a little more empathy with the travelling fans wouldn’t go amiss. Those who traverse this country and the continent deserve credit for their vocal support given some of the displays they witnessed this season.

And The Transfer Window Can Do One Until The 30th

Yes, the stories abound about a French whizzkid or despite having a budget of £40m, how we’re leading the way for a €75m-rated winger. You can escape the clickbait this summer, however, by not clicking on the stories. Just a thought.

’til Tomorrow.

11 thoughts on “Senior Pros Blast UEFA Over Baku

  1. Randy Thomsett says:

    Just give us a victory please Unai.

  2. Paulie Walnuts says:

    Someone needs to make a stand here.

    Arsenal & Chelsea should get together , refuse to play in Baku & bollocks to any consequences.

    The whole thing is a farce & stinks to high heaven.

    Play the game at Wembley & give the fans something to reward following their clubs throughout the competition.

  3. nicky says:

    Paulie Walnuts,

    Couldn’t agree more. If UEFA won’t act, nor the FA, Arsenal and Chelsea should jointly have the cojones to use common sense and refuse to travel.
    It would set a pattern for the future.
    C’mon Boards, show some leadership before it’s too late.

  4. Damon says:

    In one sense, I agree.

    But it’s an absolute pipedream, so let it go

    Plus, as much as I’m one for sticking it to The Man, it would set a precedent to what could become total anarchy in the future?

    “We don’t want to play there, so we won’t go, rah boo sucks to you”

    We all know its about brown envelopes and back handers and the fans can sit and swivel. Selling nearly 40k tickets on the open market in March is a proper piss take too. Simply giving the touts a market. I reckon a lot of them will have been burned on this one, cos no one wants to go.

  5. Paulie Walnuts says:


    I’ve let it go….but I love a good moan !

    Bad News Tour indeed 😥

  6. HenryNorrisDialSquare says:

    Couldn’t agree more Damon, “it’s an absolute pipe dream”.

    That said, it sounds like some good sh!t that he’s smoking! Paulie where can I get me some of that!?

    I did a double on Liverpool, Arsenal wins in the respective European finals. Might have a little conciliation bet on Chelski in case we do an Arsenal!

    “Do an Arsenal” – The act of going into a game as favourites and doing your best to ensure you lose the match miserably. e.g. Leicester away, Wolves away, Crystal Palace at home, Watford away!

  7. Stu says:

    Boycotting the final isn’t ever going to happen, but both teams could put two fingers up to UEFA by walking out of the changing rooms say 10 minutes late. We all know that UEFA are sticklers for their timings for TV (commercial revenues) purposes. So anything to upset them. After all, it’s a sodding long journey to get there….

  8. LSG says:

    Btw, we all know a boycott is a pipe dream. I would however respect the club’s for doing it and support them. Our only option now is to win it and press for future changes.

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