Chelsea pleaded for ‘sporting integrity’ despite oligarch owner sanctioned after Russia invaded Ukraine



Although Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich was sanctioned by the British government for his close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin after the invasion of Ukraine, the club had demanded that their FA Cup tie against Middlesbrough be played behind closed doors for “questions of sporting integrity”. ”

Abramovich’s sanction means Chelsea can no longer sell away tickets for Saturday’s game due to restrictions at the club.

“Chelsea FC recognize that such a result would have a huge impact on Middlesbrough and its supporters, as well as on our own supporters who have already bought the limited number of tickets sold before the imposition of the license, but we believe it is the fairest way to proceed in the current circumstances,” a club statement read on Tuesday.

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.

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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.

“All concerned are well aware of the reasons Chelsea have been sanctioned and that it has nothing to do with Middlesbrough Football Club (MFC),” a club statement said on Tuesday.

“To suggest as a result that the MFC and our fans should be penalized is not only grossly unfair, but completely baseless.”

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Chelsea’s request to play the match without spectators was not well received on social media.

“Congratulations to whoever runs the show at Chelsea – new world record for lack of self-awareness,” said prominent football writer Oliver Holt on Twitter.
Associated Press global sports correspondent Rob Harris suggested that a “logical thing would seem to be that Chelsea would be allowed to sell tickets, but for all profits [to] go directly to an unaffiliated charity,” he said. tweeted.

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.

The Premier League club is owned by Chelsea FC PLC, whose ultimate parent company is Fordstam Limited. According to Chelsea’s website, the ultimate controlling party for Fordstam is Abramovich.


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