Refusing to allow Chelsea fans to attend FA Cup semi-final would be ‘ridiculous’, says MP


An MP has insisted it would be ‘ridiculous’ to prevent Chelsea supporters from attending their club’s FA Cup semi-final against Crystal Palace next month, and called for all proceeds to be donated to the ‘people of Ukraine’. 

Chelsea are in talks with the government over allowing fans into Wembley for the showpiece, and the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation are thought to be under pressure to let the club sell tickets again this season. 

As it stands, the Blues are not able to shift tickets because of the sanctions imposed on their owner Roman Abramovich. The Russian oligarch was punished for his alleged ties with Vladimir Putin, although he has vehemently denied these links.

With the process underway to change the ownership at the top of the club, Chelsea have lobbied to have their restrictions eased. That saw their budget for home games increased, but they have struggled to make a breakthrough over tickets.

Now, however, Julian Knight MP, the chair of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee has criticised the possibility of supporters now being able to take in their side in the capital next month. 

Chelsea supporters are facing the possibility of not being allowed into their FA Cup semi-final

Julian Knight MP (above), chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee said the scenario is 'ridiculous' and that the proceeds should be donated to the 'people of Ukraine'

Julian Knight MP (above), chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee said the scenario is ‘ridiculous’ and that the proceeds should be donated to the ‘people of Ukraine’

He said in a statement: ‘It is ridiculous that we face the prospect of a half full Wembley for the Chelsea vs Palace FA cup semi-final. 

‘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 secured their spot at Wembley after beating Middlesbrough despite off-field turmoil

Chelsea secured their spot at Wembley after beating Middlesbrough despite off-field turmoil

There is genuine concern at Stamford Bridge that their current restrictions will plunge them into financial peril, sparking fears of administration. The revenue from ticket sales, like many football clubs, is a crucial part of their revenue.

Last week, the Foreign Secretary, Liz Truss, announced a raft of new sanctions in oligarchs, taking the tally of individuals or entities to over 1,000.

Businessman Abramovich has been included on the list and, as a result, Chelsea are currently operating under a special license, which is designed to prevent Abramovich from earning money during his attempts to sell the club. 

As part of this license, all previously sold tickets, including season tickets, remain valid – although tickets for the FA Cup semi-final are not yet on general sale. 

Roman Abramovich has been sanctioned by the UK government for his ties with Vladimir Putin

Roman Abramovich has been sanctioned by the UK government for his ties with Vladimir Putin

Liz Truss, the Foreign Secretary, recently announced a raft of sanctions on Russian oligarchs

Liz Truss, the Foreign Secretary, recently announced a raft of sanctions on Russian oligarchs

It is thought that a decision over the allocation of the Blues’ tickets will be made during the international break, with the government in charge of the process because the sanctions imposed on Abramovich come from Downing Street. 

Mr Knight, meanwhile, has doubled down on his stance in a post on Twitter. 

‘It’s ridiculous that we face the prospect of a half full Wembley for the Chelsea Vs Palace FA Cup semifinal,’ he wrote. ‘The FA must be allowed to sell tickets to Chelsea fans with all money going to the people of Ukraine.’  

The tickets for Chelsea supporters for their previous FA Cup tie at Middlesbrough were sold before the announcement over sanctions. They were forced to return 3,200 tickets to their hosts, though, with around 700 sold before the restrictions.

There is genuine concern at Chelsea that not selling tickets will plunge them into financial peril

There is genuine concern at Chelsea that not selling tickets will plunge them into financial peril

After the clampdown on the club, the Blues asked for the match to be held behind closed doors for ‘sporting integrity’, a statement which was quickly criticised. 

This suggestion was unsurprisingly rebuffed within a matter of hours, with only supporters with an away season ticket or hospitality season ticket bought before the sanctions were imposed then able to attend at the Riverside Stadium. 

Currently, Chelsea are also facing up to the prospect of playing against Real Madrid in their Champions League quarter-final clash at Stamford Bridge without a crowd.

This is because of the refusal to ease the terms of the license allowing the Premier League heavyweights to continue their football operations this campaign.





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