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Azerbaijan FA hits back at Klopp’s criticism

BAKU, AZERBAIJAN - MAY 22: The Azerbaijan flag is paraded into the stadium during the closing ceremony of Baku 2017 - 4th Islamic Solidarity Games at the Olympic Stadium on May 22, 2017 in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
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The Liverpool manager has criticized UEFA for choosing a place so far away and with little airport infrastructure as Baku.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp was asked what does he think about the UEFA Europa League Final to be host in Baku, Azerbaijan, where Arsenal and Chelsea have been given only 6,000 tickets for the 70,000-capacity stadium.

The German manager criticized the UEFA decision-makers, saying this was not the right decision.

And today, the Azerbaijan Football Association (FA) general secretary Elkhan Mammadov has hit back at Klopp’s comments.

“I am unpleasantly surprised by his remarks. He always gave an impression of a very positive person,” Mammadov told The Mirror.

“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,” he continued.

“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,” he said.

“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,” he continued.

“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,” he added.

“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.”