Arsenal and Chelsea fans avoid Azerbaijan capital Baku amid Europa League final mammoth journeys

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Richard Pallot

The bars and main square of Baku should be filling up with Chelsea and Arsenal fans with just hours to go before Wednesday night's Europa League Final.

Instead the streets are eerily quiet - because the capital of Azerbaijan, home to the Olympic Stadium where the match will be played, is so difficult to get to.

Baku is more than 2,800 miles from London, home to both Arsenal and Chelsea.

There are few direct flights available to fans with many routes involving stopovers in Latvia and Turkey - the majority of trips take between 10 and 14 hours and tickets can cost more than £900 per person.

Driving could take up to 58 hours and is not an option that has been endorsed.

However one Chelsea superfan who refused to be deterred was Jake Ralph.

He told ITV News he and his father: ''Left a week ago, travelled 3,500 miles, used five different currencies through three different countries, slept in a different bed every night, to save a bit of money on the cost of flying direct into Baku.''

Asked if it was worth it, he replied: ''100%, yeah.''

Chelsea superfan Jake Ralph travelled 3,500 miles to arrive in Baku. Credit: ITV News

The Azerbaijani Football Association were so impressed with the efforts of Mr Ralph and his father the pair got a personal tour of the stadium.

However their enthusiasm appears to be in the minority.

One Arsenal fan told ITV News, the decision to hold such an important match on the shores of the Caspian Sea was ''ridiculous''.

She said: ''24 hours, it took us to get here.

''And then we've got the added thing that if they do win it, they're going to parade the trophy on Thursday night before we're even back in England.''

A disgruntled Arsenal fan who has travelled 24 hours to get to Baku. Credit: ITV News

The Baku Olympic Stadium has a capacity of almost 70,000 seats, and Chelsea and Arsenal were given allocations of 6,000 tickets each but there appears to have been little interest from fans.

Although the stadium is expected to be full for Wednesday's game, many of the tickets were discounted locally and some are believed to have been offered for free.

To make matters worse for fans, the final will kick off at 11pm local time in order to maximise its appeal to a Western audience, meaning the final could finish close to 2am if the game goes to penalties.