Chelsea wants FA Cup tie at Middlesbrough to be played behind closed doors

Chelsea, which has made the request to the FA board, are dealing with government restrictions on their operations after sanctions were imposed on their Russian owner Roman Abramovich.

Chelsea is third in the Premier League with 59 points from 28 games, 11 points adrift of leader Manchester City.   -  Reuters

Chelsea has asked for Saturday's FA Cup quarter-final game at Middlesbrough to be played behind closed doors for "sporting integrity" because it is unable to sell tickets due to restrictions imposed by a British government licence.

Chelsea, which has made the request to the FA board, are dealing with government restrictions on their operations after sanctions were imposed on their Russian owner Roman Abramovich.

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The London club said it was in "extensive discussions" with the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation but could not make amendments to the licence in time to sell tickets to Chelsea fans for Saturday's game at the Riverside Stadium.

"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," the Premier League club said in a statement on Tuesday.

"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.

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"But we believe this is the fairest way of proceeding in the current circumstances."

Reuters has contacted the FA for comment.

The European champion lost the League Cup final to Liverpool on penalties last month but is in the last 16 of the Champions League, where it visits Lille on Wednesday leading 2-0 from the first leg.

It is third in the Premier League with 59 points from 28 games, 11 points adrift of leader Manchester City.

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