Abramovich’s sanction means Chelsea can no longer sell away tickets for Saturday’s game due to restrictions at the club.
The UK government has added Abramovich, who is selling Chelsea and was disqualified as club manager, to its list of people sanctioned in connection with its efforts to ‘isolate’ Putin after Russia invaded Ukraine.
Despite the sanctions against the Russian oligarch and the club, Chelsea received a special license to continue playing, but some actions are not allowed, such as selling tickets for matches other than those already sold to fans.
Existing season ticket holders are allowed to attend home games, along with fans who bought tickets before the UK government’s March 10 decision.
Describing Chelsea’s request as “extremely ironic”, Middlesbrough said the club would strongly resist calls to play the game in an empty stadium. Middlesbrough play in the second tier of English football, but have already knocked out Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur in the FA Cup this season.
“To suggest as a result that the MFC and our fans should be penalized is not only grossly unfair, but completely baseless.”
Chelsea’s request to play the match without spectators was not well received on social media.
Later on Tuesday, the English Football Association said Chelsea had agreed to withdraw their request to play the game behind closed doors.
“The FA remain in discussions with Chelsea, the Premier League and the government to find a solution that would allow both Chelsea fans to attend games and away fans to attend Stamford Bridge, while ensuring compliance with sanctions,” an FA spokesman said.
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