Chelsea have withdrawn their request for Saturday’s FA Cup game with Middlesbrough to be played behind closed doors to “protect sporting integrity” after being banned from selling tickets.
Blues owner Roman Abramovich was sanctioned by the UK government after Russia invaded Ukraine, but Chelsea were granted a special license to continue operating.
As part of Chelsea’s restrictions, they were unable to sell tickets beyond the 600 they had already sold from their away allocation to Riverside Stadium, meaning there will be a limited number of fans in attendance for the quarter-finals.
Chelsea submitted a request to the Football Federation (FA) on Tuesday that home fans also be barred from attending, which has sparked widespread ridicule and opposition.
Boro responded by saying the Blues’ ‘bizarre’ demands were ‘extremely ironic’, and the reigning European champions withdrew their request.
The FA confirmed the decision in a statement which read: “Following constructive discussions between the FA and Chelsea, the club has agreed to withdraw its request for the Emirates FA Cup quarter-final match against Middlesbrough to be played behind closed doors.
“The FA is continuing to talk to Chelsea, the Premier League and the government to find a solution that will allow Chelsea fans to watch games and fans absent at Stamford Bridge, ensuring that penalties are met.”
Chelsea are due to travel to Lille on Wednesday before traveling to Boro, who have already knocked Manchester United and Tottenham out of the FA Cup this season.