Chelsea has withdrawn a demand for Saturday’s FA Cup tie at Middlesbrough to be played behind closed doors, according to the Football Association. The Premier League side is not allowed to sell tickets for any matches after the government froze the assets of Russian owner Roman Abramovich. They initially made the request “for matters of sporting integrity”.
Chelsea Withdraws Request to Play F.A Cup Game Behind Closed Doors
According to the Football Association, they said: “After constructive talks between the FA and Chelsea, the club has agreed to remove their request.” “The FA remains in ongoing discussions with Chelsea, the Premier League, and the government to find a solution that would enable both the club fans to attend games and away fans to attend Stamford Bridge while ensuring sanctions are respected.”
The Blues said it was “grateful for the FA’s continuing efforts to help us find a solution”. The prime minister’s official spokesman said the government is working with the football authorities to allow more Chelsea fans to attend away matches but also said that any changes must ensure “no additional revenue can be raised given the club is owned by an individual now sanctioned in the UK”.
Championship side Middlesbrough said they would challenge the “bizarre” and “ironic” request regarding the quarter-final – which was set to be discussed at an FA meeting “in the strongest possible terms”. Their chairman Steve Gibson told the Athletic: “Chelsea and sporting integrity do not belong in the same sentence.” He also said: “Where is the intellect of Bruce Buck, the chairman of the club, who has been an apologist for his owner, where the trophies won over 19 years have come from the corrupt money provided by Abramovich?”
“Where is the intellect of the chairman of the London club when it comes to playing his games at home in front of his season-ticket holders? Does he want to play all his away games at empty stadiums? Be said the Chelsea owner Abramovich has been kicked out of football and Bruce Buck will also be kicked out of football if he does not abide by the ruling. However, Chelsea fans’ Trust had earlier asked the club to withdraw the request.