Arsene Wenger has hit out at the decision to hold the Europa League final in Baku, saying it is the fans who will suffer rather than the teams.

The Europa League trophy is displayed ahead of the competition's quarter-finals draw, on March 15, 2019 in Nyon. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP)
The Europa League trophy is displayed ahead of the competition’s quarter-finals draw, on March 15, 2019 in Nyon. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP)

Speaking about the issue, Arsene Wenger highlighted how the final being in Baku impacts fans far more than players (Henrikh Mkhitaryan aside.)

MONACO, MONACO - FEBRUARY 18: Arsene Wenger winner of the Laureus Lifetime Achievement award speaks on stage during the 2019 Laureus World Sports Awards at the Salle des Etoiles, Sporting Monte-Carlo on February 18, 2019 in Monaco, Monaco. (Photo by Simon Hofmann/Getty Images for Laureus)
MONACO, MONACO – FEBRUARY 18: Arsene Wenger winner of the Laureus Lifetime Achievement award speaks on stage during the 2019 Laureus World Sports Awards at the Salle des Etoiles, Sporting Monte-Carlo on February 18, 2019 in Monaco, Monaco. (Photo by Simon Hofmann/Getty Images for Laureus)

“It’s the same for both teams, always,” Wenger said. “A final is a final. The teams do not have such a problem. They live in ideal conditions, they have a private jet, they have nice business seats. It’s the fans [who will be affected].”

About the Mkhitaryan situation, he added, “That’s something that should not happen in football, in the modern world.

“[When] Politically, you cannot play a football game.”

So will he be watching? Of course he will. “I watch them like a fan,” he said. “I don’t judge. I’m happy when they win and not happy when they don’t play well. But after that, I try to really take a distance with it.”

Wenger also spoke about why he hasn’t taken up another job in football just yet.

“I neglected a lot of the people around me [in 40 years in management], so I had a bit more time [since leaving Arsenal]. I thought as well, do I go back into that heat again? It is not so much the heat but once you go in there, there is no way out.

“So, I thought, ‘Let’s take a bit of time.’ OK, two months [out], [then] three months. Now I have a problem to get in again! I will go back into football for sure. In what position, I don’t know. Whether that is as a manager or not. The appetite, the desire, is still there. I know what kind of life I have in front of me so I have to decide that now.”

“Originally, I said I will manage straightaway again. Then I thought maybe I’d take a little distance. I came to the conclusion I want to share what I learnt in my life because I think life is only useful if at some stage you share what you know. In what way will it be? Will it be in winning football games or in another way? That’s what I have to decide, that decision will come very quickly.

“You have seen me on telly. I read a lot, do a lot of different sports, daily, so that occupies me. I travelled a lot. I did a lot of game observation, charity, many conferences on football, on management, on motivation, on the meaning of life. I personally [still] don’t know what it means.”

Wenger was speaking as he announced his investment in an Israeli football technology company.

I miss him. I don’t overly want him back, but I do miss listening to him.

Good ebening.

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Writer. Feminist. Dreamer. Gooner. Owner of DailyCannon.com, writing about Arsenal since 2008. Sometimes found in the Guardian, Vice.com & elsewhere talking queer issues, politics & football. If in doubt, assume sarcasm.