The longest journeys in UEFA football history

After Kairat Almaty completed a record 5,947km trip to Bordeaux in the UEFA Europa League, UEFA.com maps the extremes of the footballing continent.

Bordeaux will welcome Kairat after an epic journey
Bordeaux will welcome Kairat after an epic journey ©UEFA.com

A new record was set when Kairat Almaty travelled 5,947km west for Thursday's UEFA Europa League play-off opener against Girondins de Bordeaux; UEFA.com maps the extremes of the footballing continent.

Previous longest journeys in UEFA football history
Santa Clara 2-0 Shirak
Shirak 3-3 Santa Clara
2002 UEFA Intertoto Cup first round

Portuguese side Santa Clara are based in Ponta Delgada, the main city of the Azores island of Sao Miguel. Their sole season, in Europe in the UEFA Intertoto Cup, involved a round trip of almost 7,000km to take on Teplice, and this 5,824km east-west return journey to Gyumri in Armenia.

Kairat Almaty 2-1 Aberdeen
Aberdeen 1-1 Kairat Almaty
2015/16 UEFA Europa League third qualifying round

Around 70 fans joined the Dons on their 5,496km trip east, the club chartering a flight at some cost in order to minimise jet lag on a journey which took them through five time zones. Kairat's overall success was more impressive given that they had endured a two-hour delay and changes of flight in Russia and Belgium in order to get to Pittodrie.

Longest journey in UEFA group stage history
AZ Alkmaar 1-0 Shakhter Karagandy
2013/14 UEFA Europa League group stage

AZ's journey east to play Shakhter was made slightly easier by the fact the game was played at the Astana Arena rather than in their opponents' home city – a mere 4,418km from Alkmaar. The Kazakh side had an extra 177km to travel for the return fixture, with 4,595km separating Karaganda from the AZ Stadion.

Kairat's futsal team made Europe's longest victory lap
Kairat's futsal team made Europe's longest victory lap©Sportsfile

Longest UEFA club journey
Kairat Almaty
2015 UEFA Futsal Cup finals

The longest victory parade in European football took Kairat back to Kazakhstan after they won the top prize in club futsal in Lisbon this April. A 6,911km journey west did not fluster Cacau's side. "It's impossible to be happier than this," beamed defender Leo after his side's 3-2 final win against Barcelona.

Longest European/South American Cup journey
Racing Avellaneda 2-1 Celtic

From 1960-2004, the champions of Europe and South America competed for the UEFA-endorsed European/South American Cup – or Intercontinental Cup. The furthest any side had to travel was 11,304km, when Celtic flew south to take on Argentina's Racing Avellaneda in the 1967 competition. Having won the home leg 1-0, they lost 2-1 in Avellaneda. They lost the tie 1-0 in a notoriously ugly replay staged in Montevideo, a mere 11,236km from Glasgow

Shortest UEFA journeys
AC Milan 0-0 Internazionale Milano
Internazionale Milano 1-1 AC Milan
2002/03 UEFA Champions League semi-finals

AC Milan 2-0 Internazionale Milano
Internazionale Milano 0-3 AC Milan

2004/05 UEFA Champions League quarter-finals

In the early days of European football, smaller clubs were occasionally persuaded to play both their home and away games at their opponents' stadiums, but no away game involved a shorter round trip than these two Milan derbies. The clubs always have the same dressing rooms at San Siro, ensuring an away trip of 0km for these ties. Ironically, the first of them was won on away goals.

Tromsø's Alfheim Stadium
Tromsø's Alfheim Stadium©Getty Images

Most northerly UEFA games
Norway's Tromsø IL have played 27 UEFA home games at their Alfheim Stadium.
Tromso's coordinates are 69° 40' 58" N, which is inside the Arctic Circle.
The longest UEFA journey to Tromso was taken by İnter Bakı, who had to travel 3,717km for a 2-0 UEFA Europa League second qualifying round defeat in July 2013.

Most southerly UEFA games (excluding European/South American Cup)
Spain's UD Las Palmas have played five UEFA home games at their Estadio de Gran Canaria. Las Palmas lies in the Canary Islands, coordinates 28° 9' 0" N, which lie off the coast of Morocco and are further south than Cairo. The longest UEFA journey to Gran Canaria was undertaken by Sloboda Tuzla, who travelled 3,548km for a 5-0 UEFA Cup first round defeat in September 1977.

Sibir played two UEFA home games
Sibir played two UEFA home games©Alexey Ignatovich

Most easterly UEFA games
Russia's Sibir Novosibirsk played two UEFA home games at their Spartak Stadium Novosibirsk. The coordinates are 82° 56' 0" E, making it about as far east as Nepal.
The longest of the two journeys to play Sibir was a 4,951km haul taken by PSV Eindhoven for a 1-0 UEFA Europa League play-off defeat in August 2010.

Most westerly UEFA games (excluding European/South American Cup)
Santa Clara played two UEFA home games at the São Miguel Stadium in Ponta Delgada.
The main city in the Azores, its coordinates are 25° 44' 50" W, meaning it lies about as far west as Cape Verde.
The longest journey west to Ponta Delgada was taken by Armenia's Shirak, who travelled 5,824km west for a 2-0 UEFA Intertoto Cup first round defeat in June 2002.

Luch-Energiya spent a season in the Russian top division
Luch-Energiya spent a season in the Russian top division©Getty Images

The longest possible journeys
Confine the search to clubs who have competed in UEFA competitions and the longest possible would be a 8,046km trip for a game between Sibir Novosibirsk and Tenerife – another side from the Canaries who are even further west than Las Palmas, though not as far south – but even more arduous journeys could theoretically happen.

Luch-Energiya Vladivostok spent three seasons in the Russian top flight from 2006-08; their Dynamo Stadium is 100m from the Sea of Japan. A theoretical game between Luch-Energiya and Tenerife would involve an 11,460km trip.

Europe's boundaries can be stretched even further though. Sides from overseas territories are entitled to play in the Portuguese and French domestic cups.

Santa Clara's base in the Azores is a long way west, but the situation in France is even more startling, given that sides from Mayotte, Reunion, Guadeloupe, Martinique and French Guyana could all theoretically qualify for European competition as French Cup winners.

Should current French Guyanese champions Cayenne ever have to take on Luch-Energiya in a European game, it would involve a round trip of the best part of 30,000km – and it would be closer for them to fly west than east. The circumference of the planet, incidentally, is around 40,000km.

French Guyana's favourite footballing son Florent Malouda
French Guyana's favourite footballing son Florent Malouda©Getty Images

Can you think of any longer possible journeys? Add your comments or share your discoveries on UEFA.com's Twitter and Facebook pages.


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