By Abdul Kerimkhanov
Thorough preparation was made for the UEFA Europa League Final in Baku, Carole Crofts, UK ambassador to Azerbaijan, said at a briefing on May 27.
Crofts recalled that the English football clubs Arsenal and Chelsea's fans have already been to Baku during previous games with the Azerbaijani football club Karabakh. She added that British fans are familiar with both Azerbaijan and Baku, and with the fantastic Baku Olympic Stadium.
Speaking about the history of relations between Azerbaijan and the UK, the ambassador highlighted the role of Tofig Bahramov.
"The Azerbaijani line judge, who received an award in 1966 at the World Cup in England, to this day remains a national hero. Baku now has a stadium named after Tofig Bahramov," Crofts said.
She noted that this is an exciting week for the British Embassy, the UK football, and especially for the Arsenal and Chelsea fans.
The ambassador said that thorough preparations were made for the upcoming game in collaboration with officials, football associations and clubs.
Answering the question about politization of the UEFA Europa League Final, Crofts noted that people should have talked about sports, in particular, about the game of Arsenal and Chelsea clubs.
She called a very big achievement that these two English clubs reached the final.
“Arsenal and Chelsea unite very strong players and the conversations should have been around them,” she stressed.
Crofts noted that she always felt at home in Azerbaijan.
“My family, my friends came here. We always felt the warm attitude of people,” she mentioned.
The ambassador noted that Azerbaijan has a great experience in holding such events. She expressed confidence that a grandiose game will take place in Baku and everyone will enjoy it.
Crofts said that the British side is working closely with the Arsenal and Chelsea clubs, with Association of Football Federations of Azerbaijan, as well as with the London police to ensure the visit of many fans to Baku.
She pointed out that charter flights will be organized from the UK to Baku.
“During such games, clubs usually themselves agree with private companies to arrange charter flights and they run from small airports,” Crofts emphasized.
Having touched the economic agenda, the ambassador mentioned that 400-500 British companies in Azerbaijan.
“There are from 400 to 500 companies from the UK in Azerbaijan, which means the presence of the business community from this country,” she noted.
Crofts said that a large community of British citizens is based in Baku.
The ambassador stressed that nearly 5,000 Britons currently reside in Azerbaijan, adding that this figure often changes. She noticed that British people who live in Azerbaijan for 20-25 years say that Baku has changed for the better.
Crofts also noted that Baku is famous not only with holding sports events but also other international events.
“When we talk about Baku, we talk about international standards,” she concluded.
Abdul Kerimkhanov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AbdulKerim94
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