Chelsea want Cup tie at Middlesbrough behind closed doors after fan ban | Chelsea

Chelsea have requested their FA Cup quarter-final at Middlesbrough on Saturday be played behind closed doors after the club failed to get their ban on selling tickets lifted.

The European champions have been granted a special licence to continue operating after sanctions were imposed on Roman Abramovich last week, but this does not allow them to sell new tickets. That means they cannot fill the away end at the Riverside Stadium and Chelsea believe the tie should take place in an empty ground to preserve sporting integrity.

It remains to be seen how Middlesbrough will respond to Chelsea’s request. The Championship club have sold out the home allocation.

A statement on Chelsea’s website said: “Despite engaging in extensive discussions with the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI), the deadline to purchase away tickets has passed without appropriate amendments being made to the government licence which would allow a full allocation of Chelsea supporters to attend. Executives at Middlesbrough had been kind enough to extend their deadline for ticket sales and stadium allocation from 7.30pm last night until 9.30am this morning.

“It is important for the competition that the match against Middlesbrough goes ahead, however it is with extreme reluctance that we are asking the FA board to direct that the game be played behind closed doors for matters of sporting integrity. Chelsea FC recognises that such an outcome would have a huge impact on Middlesbrough and its supporters, as well as our own fans who have already bought the limited number of tickets that were sold before the licence was imposed, but we believe this is the fairest way of proceeding in the current circumstances.

“We will continue to discuss the issue of ticket sales with OFSI as there are a number of fixtures still to be played this season and we hope to reach a resolution.”

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