Helsea have requested that their FA Cup tie against Middlesbrough be played behind closed doors ‘for sporting integrity matters’ after confirming they would not be able to sell tickets for the game at the Riverside Stadium.
The club are unable to sell tickets under the operating license imposed on them after owner Roman Abramovich was hit with government sanctions last week.
Chelsea said they recognized the impact playing their quarter-final behind closed doors would have on Middlesbrough, but “believe it is the fairest way to proceed in the current circumstances”.
They say they made the request to the FA “with extreme reluctance” after they were unable to sell their entire allocation of 4,620 tickets.
A statement from Chelsea said: “We are disappointed to announce that we will be unable to sell tickets for Saturday’s FA Cup tie at Middlesbrough.
“Despite extensive discussions with the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI), the deadline for purchase of outbound tickets has passed without the appropriate changes having been made to the government license, which would allow a full allowance of Chelsea supporters to attend Middlesbrough officials have been kind enough to extend their deadline for ticket sales and stadium allocations from 7.30pm last night to 9.30am this morning.
“It is important for the competition that the game against Middlesbrough goes ahead, but it is with extreme reluctance that we ask the FA board to order the game to be played behind closed doors for safety reasons. sporting integrity.
“Chelsea FC recognize that such a result would have a huge impact on Middlesbrough and its supporters, as well as on our own fans who have already bought the limited number of tickets sold before the imposition of the license, but we believe it is the fairest. how to proceed in the current circumstances.
“We will continue to discuss the issue of ticket sales with the OFSI as there are still a number of matches to be played this season and we hope to reach a solution.”
The special license imposed on Chelsea allows existing ticket holders to attend matches, but new sales, including home and away tickets, are not permitted.
The measure was introduced to prevent Abramovich from profiting.
Chelsea are lobbying the government to change their special operating license.
MP Nigel Huddleston said on Tuesday the government would not allow Chelsea to go bankrupt.
“The absolute opposite of what you’re suggesting,” he said when questioned by the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee. “The measures we have taken and the license granted are aimed precisely at preventing this from happening.”