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15th Mar 2022

Middlesbrough slam ‘bizarre’ request from Chelsea to play behind closed doors

Daniel Brown

Boro say it is ‘grossly unfair’ and ‘without any foundation’

Middlesbrough have criticised the ‘bizarre’ request from Chelsea to play their FA Cup tie against the Championship club behind closed doors following the sanctions placed on club owner Roman Abramovich.

The Blues requested that their FA Cup quarter-final against Boro on Saturday was to be played behind closed doors for the sake of “sporting integrity.”

Given the sanctions imposed on Abramovich, the club have been restricted in their usual day-to-day operations as they currently operate under a special license granted by the UK government.

It includes the sale of tickets, with only season ticket holders allowed to attend games at Stamford Bridge, whilst any tickets for away supporters will not be allowed to go on sale.

However, Middlesbrough have stated that Chelsea’s ‘bizarre’ request ‘is not only grossly unfair but without any foundation’.

The Championship outfit released a statement in response to the Blues’ request, which read: “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.

“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.

“Given the reasons for these sanctions, for Chelsea to seek to invoke sporting “integrity” as reason for the game being played behind closed doors is ironic in the extreme.

“We currently await formal notification from the FA of the next steps but rest assured MFC will resist Chelsea’s actions in the strongest terms.”

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