Premier League • England

Chelsea fans handed FA Cup semi-final lift as FA announces Government talks

Thomas Tuchel Chelsea 2022 TEAMtalk21

Chelsea can now expect to have full support at their FA Cup semi-final against Crystal Palace following an intervention from the Football Association.

Roman Abramovich’s UK Government sanctions currently bar the Blues from selling any new tickets, but the FA has announced it is in talks with the Government over amendments to the club’s operating licence to allow tickets to be sold for next month’s Wembley showdown.

“We hope to have sell-out crowds at both of our Emirates FA Cup semi-finals at Wembley Stadium,” an FA spokesperson said.

“This includes tickets for Chelsea supporters for their match against Crystal Palace, and we are working with the Government on a method to achieve this whilst respecting the sanctions that are currently in place on Chelsea.”

Russian-Israeli billionaire Abramovich was sanctioned by the Government on March 10, with Downing Street claiming to have proven his links to Vladimir Putin.

The 55-year-old put Chelsea up for sale on March 2, amid Russia’s continued invasion of Ukraine.

The Raine Group, a US-based merchant bank, is managing the sale process. Interested bidders had until last Friday to submit their plans.

Julian Knight, chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee, had earlier on Monday called for changes to Chelsea’s special licence so that fans could attend the semi-final.

The intention of the licence is to deny the club – and by extension Abramovich – the ability to generate new revenue, including from ticket sales.


Chelsea fans deserve more

Chelsea fans were unable to buy any tickets for last Saturday’s quarter-final win at Middlesbrough beyond those purchased prior to the imposition of sanctions, but Knight insists a solution must be in place ahead of the semi-final.

“It is ridiculous that we face the prospect of a half-full Wembley for the Chelsea vs Palace FA Cup semi-final,” Knight said.

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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.”

Last Tuesday Chelsea initially requested the match against Boro be played behind closed doors “for matters of sporting integrity” because of the inability to sell further tickets to travelling fans, but withdrew the request later the same day.

The club are currently unable to sell any new tickets in home sections of Stamford Bridge beyond those already sold, or sell tickets to visiting fans.

Unless the licence is changed, it means their Champions League quarter-final first leg at home to Real Madrid will be played behind closed doors.

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