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Gunners and Blues fans must go extra mile to watch Baku final

The Baku Olympic Stadium will host the Europa League final
The Baku Olympic Stadium will host the Europa League final

by Neil Lancefield

Supporters of Arsenal and Chelsea face an epic journey to watch their sides in the Europa League final.

Only seven miles separates the London teams' stadiums, but their fans must embark on a 2,500-mile trip to attend the game in Baku on May 29.

There are only three scheduled flights per week between London and the Azerbaijan capital, but all seats are sold out in the days before and after the match.

Many fans are booking circuitous routes, with trips involving a change of plane at destinations such as Bahrain, Istanbul and Doha available for £1,300.

Many of these flights last more than 10 hours.

Thomas Cook Sport is offering non-stop charter flights for £979 to supporters who have bought a match ticket.

The trip does not include accommodation, and involves departing from a London airport on the morning of the game and flying home at around 8.30am the following day.

Anyone contemplating driving to the game must be prepared for a long journey. The most direct trip involves an area of eastern Ukraine which the Foreign and Commonwealth Office advises against all travel due to ongoing clashes between Ukrainian armed forces and Russian-backed armed separatists.

• Chelsea defender David Luiz has signed a new two-year contract, running until 2021.

The Brazilian (32) was out of contract at the end of June meaning he could have left for free in the summer. Luiz made his 48th appearance of the season in the penalty shoot-out win over Eintracht Frankfurt.

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