Chelsea fans should be allowed to buy FA Cup tickets, says UK lawmaker

Premier League club Chelsea are dealing with government restrictions on their operations after sanctions were imposed on their Russian owner Roman Abramovich following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Chelsea

Chelsea was put up for sale by Abramovich before sanctions were imposed on the oligarch by the British government, effectively giving it control of the club.   -  Reuters

Chelsea fans must not be punished by the sanctions on the club's owner and should be allowed to buy tickets for the FA Cup semi-final clash against Crystal Palace next month, the chair of a UK parliamentary committee said on Monday.

Premier League club Chelsea are dealing with government restrictions on their operations after sanctions were imposed on their Russian owner Roman Abramovich following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The government's special licence allows Chelsea to play fixtures and pay staff but limits the sale of tickets and merchandise. Tickets can be sold only if amendments are made to the licence.

"It is ridiculous that we face the prospect of a half-full Wembley for the Chelsea v Palace FA cup semi-final," said Knight, chair of the Digital, Culture, Media & Sport Committee.

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"Chelsea is more than just its owner, it's a living organism with huge importance to its fans and community. It was understandable that, at short notice, last week's game against Middlesbrough went ahead without Chelsea fans.

"But with this much notice, the FA have no excuse for excluding them. The FA must be allowed to sell tickets to Chelsea fans so long as all money goes to the people of Ukraine."

Chelsea was not allowed to sell its full allocation of tickets for the quarter-final at Middlesbrough, with the club requesting it be played behind closed doors in the interest of "sporting integrity" -- a request they withdrew after intense criticism.

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The club said last week it was in discussions with the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation but could not make the appropriate amendments to the licence in time to sell tickets for the quarter-final.

The FA declined to comment when contacted by Reuters.

Chelsea was put up for sale by Abramovich before sanctions were imposed on the oligarch by the British government, effectively giving it control of the club.

The club's sale is being overseen by U.S. bank Raine Group which plans to narrow down the shortlist of bidders to three on Monday or Tuesday.

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