- Middlesbrough has described Chelsea’s request to have their FA Cup quarter-final tie played behind closed doors as bizarre
- The championship club says it should not be made to pay for the trials facing Chelsea
- At the moment, Chelsea can no longer sell tickets for games and only fans who have already bought tickets, including season ticket holders, can attend matches
Middlesbrough has sensationally dismissed Chelsea’s request to have their FA Cup quarter-final clash played behind closed doors.
Chelsea is at the moment an embattled club as the West Londoners are operating under a restricted licence after Roman Abramovic was slapped with sanctions by the UK government.
Part of the implications of the sanctions was Chelsea is unable to sell any tickets beyond those already sold, with only season ticket holders available to attend the team’s matches.
On Tuesday, March 15, Chelsea released a statement on the club website asking for the game to be played without fans on grounds of integrity.
But barely hours later, Mirror reports that Middlesbrough had a scathing response regarding the request.
The Boro’s chairman Steve Gibson was adamant his team should be allowed to operate as normal, saying the championship club should not be made to pay for Chelsea’s woes.
We are aware of Chelsea's request to have Saturday's Emirates FA Cup sixth round tie played behind closed doors and find their suggestion both bizarre and without any merit whatsoever," says Middlesbrough’s statement.
"All concerned are well aware of the reasons Chelsea have been sanctioned and that this has nothing to do with Middlesbrough Football Club. To suggest as result that MFC and our fans should be penalised is not only grossly unfair but without any foundation.
The FA’s response
As far as Chelsea’s request is concerned, an FA spokesperson said the matter would be looked at on Wednesday, March 16 at the Professional Game Board meeting.
Chelsea are among the favourites to win the FA Cup with only 8 teams remaining in the competition.
They advanced to the quarter-finals by seeing off Luton Town, barely a week before sanctions were imposed on the club.
UK government’s response
Earlier, Sports Brief reported of how a UK government source has hit back in scathing fashion at Chelsea by saying the London club hasn't fully grasped the situation they are in.
The source reiterated that the government would not “allow money from ticket sales to flow to a sanctioned entity."