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UK Government Reply To Chelsea's Request To Host FA Cup Game Behind Closed Doors

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UK Government Reply To Chelsea's Request To Host FA Cup Game Behind Closed Doors

Chelsea have asked for their game against Middlesbrough in the FA Cup on Saturday to be played behind closed doors, and one senior government source has responded.

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The Blues are under sanctions and having to operate under a 'general licence' following sanctions placed on owner Roman Abramovich.

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That means they can no longer sell tickets for games and only fans who have already bought tickets, including season ticket holders, can attend games.

They had only sold around 600 tickets for the cup quarter final this weekend and released a statement on Tuesday calling for the game to be played behind closed doors, for 'sporting integrity.'

Now one government source has hit back in scathing fashion, as reported by Politico journalist Alex Wickham.

"We are working around the clock to enable Chelsea to continue operating as a club in the interests of the fans," the source told Wickham.

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"This statement threatening Middlesbrough and the rest of the football league shows they do not seem to understand the seriousness of the situation they are in, being owned by an entity that has been sanctioned because of links to a person responsible for appalling acts in Ukraine.

Fans were in attendance to see Chelsea beat Newcastle United at the weekend. Image: PA Images
Fans were in attendance to see Chelsea beat Newcastle United at the weekend. Image: PA Images

"We are not opposed to Chelsea having fans at games in the long run, but we will not allow money from ticket sales to flow to a sanctioned entity.

"Chelsea should spend less time worrying about having a few thousands fans at one game, and focus on moving their club into the hands of someone who isn't linked to a warmonger."

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BBC Sport journalist Dan Roan reported on an official statement which read, "We are meeting on a daily basis with the club and football authorities to discuss further amendments to the licence which is designed to ensure Chelsea can continue to undertake football activity.

"One of our priorities is to uphold the integrity of the game and Chelsea will have a limited number of fans at the Middlesbrough game on Sunday.

"We are working to ensure more away fans can attend games, but this must be compatible with the licence so we ensure that no additional revenue can be raised given the club is owned by an individual now sanctioned both in the UK and EU."

Boro earned their place in the FA Cup quarter final with an extra time win over Tottenham. Image: PA Images
Boro earned their place in the FA Cup quarter final with an extra time win over Tottenham. Image: PA Images
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The FA put out their own statement on the matter, saying, "We are aware of Chelsea FC's request to play their Emirates FA Cup Quarter Final tie against Middlesbrough FC behind closed doors.

"The matter will be discussed at the Professional Game Board."

The news last week about the sanctions had been met by fans backing the club, with many having previously backed the owner too.

They sang his name ahead of the game with Newcastle United at the weekend, with Kai Havertz scoring a late winner for the west London side.

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Boris Johnson called on fans to stop chanting Abramovich's name in the future. The latest news is likely to only harden some fans' resolve.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Chelsea, Middlesbrough, FA Cup, Premier League, EFL Championship, Roman Abramovich

Ryan Sidle
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