UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin hits out at ‘mad’ English clubs

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin slams ‘mad’ English clubs for their fury over Europa League final in Azerbaijan

  • UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has slammed English clubs for getting ‘mad’
  • Ceferin defended UEFA’s choice to host this year’s Europa League final in Baku
  • The occasion was hit by ticketing and travel issues, causing many complaints
  • Ceferin admitted only the biggest stadiums could host Champions League final 

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin says English clubs do not help themselves by getting ‘mad’ and repeatedly complaining about their treatment.

Ceferin defended European football’s governing body’s choice of Azerbaijan capital Baku to host the Europa League final between Chelsea and Arsenal last month, a widely criticised decision.

The occasion was hit by ticketing and travel issues, which meant both clubs only sold around half of their 6,000-ticket allocations.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has slammed English clubs for getting ‘mad’ about Baku

In a talk at Oxford University, Ceferin said: ‘I was supported by 76 per cent of the (European) federations in my first (UEFA) election but not England. England supported the other candidate.

‘Whenever we have English clubs, whenever we have complaints, they’re mad! You don’t help yourself in the popularity within European football with that. If somebody asks me why we played in Baku, I would say: “People live there. Homo sapiens live there.”

‘They had to watch the game at 11pm because of the time difference but nobody complained.

‘If we have two Azerbaijani teams playing in London nobody would complain. They would come and play without any problems. We decided a year and a half ago that we play in Baku, which has a modern stadium of 70,000. I think there is only one stadium in England that is bigger.

‘So you should see the happiness, the humbleness of people when they see live the superstars they like. We have to develop football everywhere not England, Germany only.’

Ceferin defended UEFA’s choice to host the Europa League final in the Azerbaijan capital

Ceferin was re-elected as UEFA president for the next four years in February. While he has no plans to change UEFA’s Europa League final rotation policy he suggested the Champions League final may have to be restricted to Europe’s biggest venues in the future.

Liverpool and Tottenham received just 16,000 tickets each for this month’s final at the Wanda Metropolitano in Madrid and Ceferin said: ‘My thinking now is we should play the finals in bigger stadiums — even if we go to the same four, five places.

‘We had 62,000 tickets in Madrid and 980,000 requests. If we would play for example in Wembley we would have 30,000 more [tickets].

‘Probably that as a top, top, top event should be played only at the top venues. But Europa League and everything else should be shared with the others who love football.’

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