The Azerbaijan Football Association has slammed Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp for his comment on the Europa League final being held in Baku.
Numerous problems have emerged after the completion of the semifinals as both Chelsea and Arsenal are facing a number of difficulties. There are no direct flights from London to Baku and moreover, only 12000 tickets have been allotted for both sets of fans.
Uncertainty is also hovering over the availability of Arsenal playmaker Henrikh Mkhitaryan. The former Borussia Dortmund player happens to be an Armenian resident and his country doesn’t share a very cordial relationship with the host nation.
Klopp had earlier said, “These guys who make the decisions, I don’t know what they have for breakfast really when they do it.”
General secretary of Azerbaijan FA Elkhan Mammadov has given a befitting reply to the Liverpool boss.
“I was unpleasantly surprised by the remarks of Jurgen Klopp.
“He always gave an impression of a very positive person. Moreover, we all know that he is a great specialist who has achieved really outstanding results in football.
“But with all this, I strongly disagree with his opinion that football should be geographically limited
“We must respect and promote the values of football. And one of our main values is the expansion of the boundaries of football and its globalization.
“Europe has long gone beyond the borders of the countries of the western part of this continent.
“And I am convinced that holding European Championship matches and European Cup finals in Eastern Europe opens up new opportunities for developing football in these countries, serves to make it more popular among the younger generation, attracts young people to football.
“The same can be said about the organization of the Champions League Final in Kiev or 10 years ago in Istanbul.
“Yes, perhaps this year the prices in Madrid have risen because of the Champions League final, but this is the so-called side effect of a market economy and it happens everywhere on the eve of big sporting events
“I agree that getting to Baku by bus from London will be difficult, but [since] when was the distance a barrier for real fans?
“I want to remind you that three cities participated in the tender for the final: Seville, Istanbul and Baku. No one limited the ability of other countries to participate.
“I am sure that there will be a real football holiday in Baku. And I am also confident that the same will happen in Madrid.”