For those travelling to Baku via Tbilisi here is some travel information which may help.
For those travelling to Baku for the final, UEFA have created an information leaflet.
You can download it by clicking here
(Please note it is 24mb in size)
Having reached the Europa League final on May 29th, loyal supporters of both Arsenal and Chelsea should be looking forward to seeing their teams compete in a European final, always a great occasion.
Sadly, many have already decided that the cost and logistical difficulty of reaching the designated venue, Baku, means that they cannot attend. Baku is one of the most inaccessible cities in Europe from the UK, with few direct flights from any western European destination. Fans who have been to 40+ games this season, loyal supporters by any definition, are unable to attend the climax of their club’s season, a dreadful reward for their season-long commitment.
Flight prices are exorbitant, and many supporters will have to use ingenuity and a combination of flights then taxis and trains from neighbouring countries to reach the city. Hotel prices have also, inevitably, ballooned, not helped by the fact the UEFA and sponsors have pre-booked much of the available accommodation.
For those determined to attend, allocations of under 6,000 tickets for each club seem laughable, given the stadium capacity of some 68,000. The cost and complexity, plus extended time off work, has put many loyal supporters off going but, regardless, the allocation for competing clubs should clearly be far higher.
Baku airport cannot cope with high volumes of air traffic, making it unsuitable to host a final where thousands of supporters would fly in. Rather than use this as a reason to not award the game to Baku, UEFA have stated that the ticket allocations are so small precisely because of these capacity issues!
Rather than subsidising travel as a gesture of thanks for their support, which the clubs could certainly afford, both Arsenal and Chelsea are complicit in fleecing fans with the outrageous £979 day trips both clubs are operating, through ‘official partner’ Thomas Cook.
Enough is enough. As independent supporter organisations at Arsenal FC and Chelsea FC we call for supporter dialogue with UEFA with a view to implementing the following principles for European finals in future seasons:
- A cap on ticket pricing
- An allocation of tickets to the two competing clubs that reflects the importance of those supporters to the spectacle and atmosphere
- Consumer protection measures to at least stop the practice of repricing existing deals and cancelling pre-booked hotel rooms
- Selection of locations for UEFA finals that have the transport and accommodation infrastructure to cope with an influx of overseas supporters
- Flexibility over the choice of final location at least until the quarter final results are known.
The Chelsea Supporters’ Trust notes that the Chelsea supporter who was vilified by the media for allegedly racially abusing Raheem Sterling when Chelsea played Man City last December, will not be prosecuted by the Crown Prosecution Service due to a lack of evidence of any racial abuse.
We are clearly very disappointed that the speed with which both the club and the media pre-judged the supporter led to his season ticket being withdrawn and in addition, the loss of his job due to the ensuing media frenzy based on unproven allegations.
We will be lobbying the club to ask for the reinstatement of the supporter’s season ticket as well as the three other supporters whose season tickets were withdrawn at that time.
It’s that time of year again! The Trust’s seventh Annual Survey is now open. Thanks to your participation the Trust will continue to operate on a mandate that truly represents our membership’s views about the issues affecting the Club.
Once the survey has closed, we will produce our findings and then sit down with the Club to discuss the questions raised. Your opinions really do make a difference.
The Closing Date is Monday 22nd April.
Members have been emailed their own special link to the survey (please check junk mail folders if you have not received it).
You can also access the survey on the following link:
You can read about responses to previous surveys in the survey section of our website.
Thank you for your participation!
Chelsea Supporters Trust
“Making your voice heard”
The issue of anti-Semitic chanting at Chelsea matches has received widespread coverage in the media recently. The Club and the Trust have both publicly condemned such chanting. While it is true that the majority of Chelsea supporters do not behave in a racist and anti-Semitic manner, a minority continue to chant words that are offensive to Jewish Chelsea supporters and indeed our owner, Roman Abramovich.
What is often overlooked is the impact this has on those who hear it in and around the stadium on a match day. We were contacted by a mother and son who experienced this at first hand and gave us permission to share their experience of anti-Semitism at Stamford Bridge. The following account exemplifies what it means to our own Jewish supporters who hear anti-Semitic chanting during matches.
Mother and son Karen and Jack are lifelong Chelsea supporters. On Saturday 22 December, they attended the Chelsea v Leicester match at Stamford Bridge. (Names have been changed).
Karen: My Dad was born in Worlds End, Chelsea. He lived in Parsons Green, and had a season ticket. His father was a supporter when they created the club in 1905. So my family have been supporting Chelsea since the very beginning.
I’ve been going since the late 70s. So when my kids were born there was no question about who they would support. We are all members – that’s how we buy tickets. Alternatively we sometimes use friends’ season tickets when they can’t go.
For the game against Leicester, we sat in the Matthew Harding Lower – on the East Stand side. It was a friend’s season tickets. The majority of the people who sit around those seats are really friendly.
Chelsea is a big part of my family’s life. We’re British, and we’re also Jewish. But we are very much a Chelsea family and ethnicity should not be relevant to our love and support of our beloved Chelsea.
Jack: I’m at university in the Midlands, and I try and get tickets for games nearby. I went to the Wolves game recently – I was in the home end! So I had to remain quiet the whole game.
I went to West Brom when we won the league. Even though it was impossible to get tickets we went to a Chelsea pub close to the ground to soak up the atmosphere. It was a great night.
But there were people in that pub – Chelsea fans – singing about Spurs fans, and how they don’t have foreskins. People from my age into their 50s. That’s out of order. There is ignorance there, but why would you make a statement like that?
Karen: Against Leicester there was somebody behind me and Jack, and he was chanting a lot. He was really loud: one of those people that want to try and get everyone singing.
He started chanting ‘we hate Tottenham’.
And then he suddenly shouted ‘We hate Y-ds’. It was a white guy in his 40s. His mate told him: “Be careful” and he stopped.
Jack: It happened about five or six times. He was screaming it – him on his own. I was close to turning around, but I just felt that I didn’t really want that confrontation. My whole mood changed after that. You’re at a game of football, and you don’t expect to hear any of this. I was so disappointed. I just thought: ‘Why on earth is that relevant to a game of football?’
Karen: I thought: ‘These are not my seats. I’m sat next to someone who I don’t really know, and I wasn’t sure how they might react if I made an issue of it. Later, when I mentioned it, they said: ‘I would have reported him’.
I just felt really uncomfortable. Disturbed, I would say. I was so disappointed. I just thought: ‘Why on earth is that relevant to a game of football?’
I know this happens, but it was so close by. It felt like an assault.
I don’t like what Tottenham call themselves. I find it uncomfortable, and it certainly isn’t helpful. It is meant to be an offensive term. But whatever Tottenham call themselves, it doesn’t ever excuse people shouting about hatred for Jews.
I was left feeling: ‘What have I done to him? Why would that man, or anyone, not like us – simply because we are Jewish?’ They don’t know me or Jack.
Jack: It has definitely got worse in recent seasons. I think social media has a bit of a role to play in it. It is a bit stupid and short-sighted though, especially as our owner, Roman Abramovich, is Jewish. It is ridiculous that it is that aspect, with Tottenham or whoever, that someone would pick on.
Karen: Should anyone not understand: the word is a derogatory word about Jewish people. Whoever you might be directing it at: if Jewish people are present, then it us who are hurt by it.
But what I don’t understand is this… If you know that ‘Y-d’ is a bad word, but you don’t know what it means, then how could you possibly think it acceptable to shout it out in public?
There has been so much in the media about this, and about stopping it, and people are surely well aware that it’s not acceptable. There is maybe some testing of the boundaries going on here.
Jack: There are a million things you can sing about football. You don’t have to bring in race, religion, whatever. It’s not relevant to sport at all. It is really upsetting for anyone – for any race or religion – to receive targeted abuse. Even if it is not calculated to directly hate those people.
Karen: As I said, I’m British, and I’m Jewish. But I’m proud to be British, even though there are times when it just makes me ashamed of some people who are the same nationality. Like a lot of Jews, I do have a family link with the Holocaust – relatives who escaped and some who were exterminated.
If you said back then, in the 1930s, that things would end up as they did – then a lot of people would have been insistent that it couldn’t happen. It did happen.
Little things have the potential to become terrible things. Shouting abuse about any race or religion is dangerous.
Jack: I think the club’s Campaign against Anti-Semitism is brilliant. I think they should try to educate and reform people. Teaching people about why this is a problem, for us as Jews, is important. I think there needs to be a wide understanding of that.
Welcome to the ‘Autumn 2018’ newsletter. We hope you are enjoying the season so far. It certainly looks like Maurizio has hit the ground running, and long may it continue. This edition highlights some of the good work that has been carried out by the Trust, particularly the important meetings with the club and the Premier League. Of course, we also reflect on the great response to our annual survey.
You can download the newsletter and read it here:
Supporter representatives from every top-flight club, including the Chelsea Supporters’ Trust recently met with Premier League executives to discuss a range of issues impacting match-going fans.
The meeting took place under the auspices of the Football Supporters Federation on 11th October and was attended by Premier League Chief Executive Richard Scudamore and other league officials.
Fan representatives from every Premier League club attended the meeting, drawn from the FSF’s network of democratically structured trusts and supporter groups, as well as some fanzines and activists. Supporters Direct also attended.
This was the fifth meeting between fan organisations and the Premier League which followed Government recommendations on fan engagement. The first took place in July 2016.
Future meetings will take place on a bi-annual basis with the next one due to take place in Spring 2019.
The results of the Chelsea Supporters’ Trust Annual Survey are now available and can be downloaded here.
We’d like to thank all of you who participated in the survey held between Mid-April until the end of May this year. It is arguably one of the most important activities the Trust is involved with on your behalf. It is an important barometer of our concerns, issues and views on the Club and in addition the results feed in to the motions you vote on at the AGM which in turn become CST policy for the year ahead.
We will be meeting with the Club in November to discuss the survey results in detail and any concerns and issues arising.
The key points and highlights are as follows:
- There was a great response this year with nearly 3,000 responses received.
- It was very encouraging to see a growth in the number of 16-25 year-olds participating in the survey. These are the supporters that represent the future of the Club’s support and it’s great to see them getting involved
- The survey came out before the Club’s announcement regarding the postponement of Stadium redevelopment. However the views expressed regarding the temporary stadium mirror last year’s: roughly speaking Twickenham 50%, Wembley 40% and Stratford 10%.
- One of the strongest messages coming through in the Survey was the support for the introduction of Safe Standing. We asked in the context of a new build stadium but it was referred to regularly throughout the survey, particularly in response to any questions regarding atmosphere. It is our belief that the Club should now push forward with the introduction of rail seating i.e. Safe Standing at Stamford Bridge in its current configuration as soon as possible.
- It will come as little surprise that the supporters still find prices too high and many are put off attending or attending as often as they would like as a consequence.
- A recurrent theme was the need to provide for the fans of the future with more availability and options for younger supporters. This was not just for junior supporters but also for young adults; we are probably all aware of the crippling costs associated with living or working in London and the transition from buying ‘child’ tickets to paying full adult price is brutal.
- This would also assist in the issue of improving atmosphere; the combination of safe standing and increased young adult attendance can only lead to a better atmosphere in the ground.
- Kick off times remain a point of contention, with Mondays and (sadly for this year) Thursdays seen as particularly unpopular.
- It is also clear that most supporters feel that more notice should be given before moving games; more than 50% supported a minimum of 6-8 weeks’ notice. While the TV companies tend to meet their target of 6-8 weeks early in the season, as the season goes on they often revert to short notice causing chaos for travel and planning for both UK and Overseas supporters.
- Supporters were in favour of a winter break by roughly 2 to 1, preferring a single weekend break for all clubs over a staggered one (which was subsequently announced)
- As is usually the case after a less successful season, significant dissatisfaction with some aspects of the running of the Club was evident. Particular areas of concern were a lack of footballing knowledge on the Board and poor recruitment/operation in the transfer window.
- The Supporter Liaison Office role at Chelsea continues to be performed by a full time employee of the Club, whereas three quarters of supporters feel that this vital role in representing supporters interests to the Club and liaising with the Club should be done by an independent supporter.
Once again thanks for your support.
Chairman, Chelsea Supporters Trust