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Chelsea news LIVE: Club withdraw Middlesbrough request after backlash and Roman Abramovich sanctioned by EU

Chelsea in back and forth over FA Cup game against Boro, owner Roman Abramovich sanctioned further by EU and prospective buyers circle ahead of deadline

Jamie Braidwood
Tuesday 15 March 2022 22:49
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Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich sanctioned by UK government amid Russian oligarch crackdown

Chelsea continue to deal with the fallout of owner Roman Abramovich being disqualified as a director of the club and sanctioned by the UK government for his links to Vladimir Putin after the Russian invasion of Ukraine as prospective buyers circle ahead of Friday’s deadline for a sale.

The London billionaire, and Blues fan, Nick Candy has emerged as one of the frontrunners to buy Chelsea and several rival suitors have approached the British property tycoon on joining the bid for the Stamford Bridge club.

The UK government initially brought sanctions against Abramovich last Thursday but despite the Russian’s assets being frozen, Chelsea were handed a new licence to continue “football-related activities” and are in negotiations with the government to amend some aspects of it.

The license does not allow Chelsea to sell tickets, however, and the the club released a statement on Tuesday requesting for their upcoming FA Cup quarter-final at Middlesbrough to be played behind closed doors after they were unable to sell any more tickets for the match. Middlesbrough responded with a furious statement while the club’s chairman, Steve Gibson, called Chelsea “pathetic” over the proposals.

However, in a dramatic U-Turn, the FA then confirmed that Chelsea had removed their request to play the match in an empty stadium. It comes as Chelsea prepare to face Lille in the Champions League on Wednesday, with manager Thomas Tuchel criticising Boris Johnson’s “priorities” after the Prime Ministers called on Blues supporters to stop chanting Abramovich’s name at matches.

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EU confirm sanctions against Roman Abramovich

The European Union have confirmed sanctions against Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich as part of a new package of measures targeting Russia.

The EU included the Russian oligarch in its updated list of individuals facing assets freeze and travel bans over their role in the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The 55-year-old Abramovich had already been punished in the UK by Boris Johnson’s government last week in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and he has also been suspended as director of the Premier League club.

The EU said Abramovich “has had privileged access to the president, and has maintained very good relations with him. This connection with the Russian leader helped him to maintain his considerable wealth.”

EU imposes sanctions on Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich

The European Union has imposed sanctions on Chelsea soccer club owner Roman Abramovich as part of a new package of measures targeting Russia

Luke Baker15 March 2022 19:31
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Chelsea remove request to play Middlesbrough match behind closed doors after backlash

Chelsea have removed their request to play Saturday’s FA Cup quarter-final at Middlesbrough behind closed doors, completing a remarkable U-Turn after their original statement was greeted with derision.

Middlesbrough labelled Chelsea’s attempts to play the match in an empty stadium as “bizarre and without merit” while adding the club’s claim that allowing home supporters to attend risked “sporting integrity” was “ironic in the extreme”.

A statement provided by the FA read: “After constructive talks between the FA and Chelsea, the club has agreed to remove their request.”

Chelsea had applied for the match to take place behind closed doors after they were not allowed to sell any more away tickets for the match due to the sanctions placed on club owner Roman Abramovich.

Chelsea remove request to play Middlesbrough match behind closed doors

Chelsea are seeking amendments to the operating license handed to them by the UK Government but have removed their request to play the FA Cup quarter-final tie behind closed doors after they were unable to sell any more tickets for the match

Luke Baker15 March 2022 19:15
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Government send blunt response to Chelsea after FA Cup ticket request

Chelsea’s request to have their FA Cup quarter-final fixture at Middlesbrough played behind closed doors has elicited a response from the government, but not quite the one they were hoping for.

The ongoing sanctions placed on owner Roman Abramovich include Chelsea forced to accept no additional income being allowed from ticket sales, which as the away side for this cup tie means they have to face the fixture without any supporters at all.

As such, the Blues asked for the game to take place without fans from either side in place to avoid “sporting integrity” being at risk, prompting Boro to reply that the request was “bizarre and without any merit whatsoever”.

Now the government are widely reported to have replied along the same lines, with a senior government source quoted as directing the club to focus on far more over-arching matters than a single match: “We are working around the clock to enable Chelsea to continue operating as a club in the interests of the fans.

“This statement threatening Middlesbrough and the rest of the Football League shows they do not seem to understand the seriousness of the situation they are in, being owned by an entity that has been sanctioned because of links to a person responsible for appalling acts in Ukraine.

“We are not opposed to Chelsea having fans at games in the long run, but we will not allow money from ticket sales to flow to a sanctioned entity. Chelsea should spend less time worrying about having a few thousand fans at one game, and focus on moving their club into the hands of someone who isn’t linked to a warmonger.”

Government send blunt response to Chelsea after FA Cup ticket request

The Blues are facing multiple off-pitch issues as they try to navigate a sale without Roman Abramovich benefitting

Jamie Braidwood15 March 2022 19:00
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‘I would pay it’: Kai Havertz offers to pay for Chelsea to travel to away games

Kai Havertz has said that he is prepared to pay for Chelsea’s travel to away fixtures after the sanctions against Roman Abramovich restricted the club’s budget.

Chelsea can only spend £20,000 on travel for each away fixture after Abramovich was disqualified as a director following the freezing of his assets by the government of the United Kingdom last week due to his ties to Vladimir Putin.

The club had already booked and paid for the second leg trip to Lille in the Champions League this week, but visit Middlesbrough on Saturday in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup and could be forced to make the journey with a reduced travelling party.

A flight north has reportedly been deemed too expensive, though the club are said to be attempting to convince the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to increase their budget.

‘I would pay it’: Kai Havertz offers to pay for Chelsea to travel to away games

After the sanctions levied against Roman Abramovich, Chelsea have been restricted to a budget of just £20,000 for away travel

Jamie Braidwood15 March 2022 18:40
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Nick Candy bid for Chelsea attracting support from rival suitors for the club

Several rival Chelsea suitors have approached Nick Candy on joining the British property tycoon’s bid for the Stamford Bridge club, the PA news agency understands.

Billionaire property developer Candy has the financing in place for his Chelsea bid, which the 49-year-old believes will be a very attractive consortium proposition.

Investment fund Citadel is thought to have held talks with Candy on underpinning his bid to buy the Blues.

But the lifelong Chelsea fan is understood to be yet to finalise the finer details of his purchase proposal.

Roman Abramovich’s UK Government sanctions have accelerated the Russian-Israeli billionaire’s Chelsea sale, with merchant bank the Raine Group setting a deadline for bids of March 18.

More here:

Nick Candy bid for Chelsea attracting support from rival suitors for the club

The billionaire property developer is finalising the details of his consortium purchase proposal

Jamie Braidwood15 March 2022 18:20
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Middlesbrough chairman calls Chelsea ‘pathetic’ over behind closed doors request

Middlesbrough chairman Steve Gibson has said Chelsea’s request to play Saturday’s FA Cup quarter-final behind closed doors is “pathetic” while calling Blues counterpart Bruce Buck “an excuse of a man” over the proposal.

Chelsea have asked the FA for Saturday’s match to be played at an empty stadium after they were denied from selling any more away tickets for the fixture due to the sanctions placed on club owner Roman Abramovich.

Middlesbrough branded Chelsea’s request as “bizarre and without merit” in a strongly-worded statement, adding that Chelsea’s claim of “sporting integrity” being put at risk was “ironic in the extreme”.

In a statement to the The Times, Gibson went a step further. “I can’t believe it. I can’t believe this excuse of a man, [Chelsea chairman] Bruce Buck. To try this is just unbelievable,” he said.

“Sporting integrity and Chelsea do not belong in the same sentence. For 19 years Abramovich’s money has fuelled Chelsea’s success. If they were to beat us in the FA Cup, with no fans there, what would that do to the integrity of the competition?

“Are they going to play all their Premier League games behind closed doors too? This is pathetic by Chelsea.”

Middlesbrough chairman calls Chelsea ‘pathetic’ over behind closed doors request

Steve Gibson launched a stinging attack on the club and said “sporting integrity and Chelsea do not belong in the same sentence”

Jamie Braidwood15 March 2022 18:12
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EU confirm sanctions against Roman Abramovich

The European Union have confirmed sanctions against Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich as part of a new package of measures targeting Russia.

The EU included the Russian oligarch in its updated list of individuals facing assets freeze and travel bans over their role in the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The 55-year-old Abramovich had already been punished in the UK by Boris Johnson’s government last week in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and he has also been suspended as director of the Premier League club.

The EU said Abramovich “has had privileged access to the president, and has maintained very good relations with him. This connection with the Russian leader helped him to maintain his considerable wealth.”

EU imposes sanctions on Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich

The European Union has imposed sanctions on Chelsea soccer club owner Roman Abramovich as part of a new package of measures targeting Russia

Luke Baker15 March 2022 17:56
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Middlesbrough label Chelsea’s FA Cup request as ‘bizarre and without merit’

Middlesbrough have slammed Chelsea over their “bizarre” request to play Saturday’s FA Cup quarter-final at the Riverside Stadium behind closed doors, adding that it has been been made “without any merit whatsoever”.

Chelsea said earlier on Tuesday that they are unable to sell any more tickets for the FA Cup fixture due to the sanctions placed on club owner Roman Abramovich.

But the Premier League club said they have requested for the match to be played in an empty stadium because “sporting integrity” was at risk if they were made to play without being able to fill their away allocation.

Middlesbrough, who have sold out the Riverside Stadium ahead of the club’s biggest match of the season, responded with a strongly-worded statement and suggested that Chelsea’s claim was “ironic in the extreme”.

The FA have said they had received Chelsea’s request to play the match behind closed doors but that it would not be discussed until Wednesday.

Middlesbrough label Chelsea’s FA Cup request as ‘bizarre and without merit’

In a strong response to Chelsea’s request to play their FA Cup quarter-final behind closed doors, Middlesbrough said their claim of “sporting integrity” being at risk was “ironic in the extreme”

Jamie Braidwood15 March 2022 17:40
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Sports Minister wants ‘more robust’ Premier League owners’ test

Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston believes a “more robust” approach needs to be taken by the Premier League with regards to its owners’ and directors’ test.

The sanctioning of Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich by the UK Government and Premier League amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has shone an uncomfortable light on who can take over at football clubs.

Huddleston would not be drawn on Government plans for the fan-led review of football or whether Abramovich had been good or bad for the sport.

But he told the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee: “The Government did not make decisions relating to those acquisitions but they were subject to the Premier League’s own owners’ and directors’ tests.

“The Premier League are also assessing that test. We do recognise there is a need for further refinement and more robust owners’ and directors’ tests and the integrity element of that is something that is being pushed.”

On Abramovich, Huddleston added: “Roman Abramovich has been sanctioned and he has been sanctioned for a reason, because he has links to Vladimir Putin.

“That (sanctions) is a signal in itself that in terms of his fitness to run a club, that is clearly not the case now. In terms of historic investment, I can’t comment much further.”

Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston wants ‘more robust’ Premier League owners’ test

Huddleston would not be drawn on Government plans for the fan-led review of football or whether Roman Abramovich had been good or bad for the sport

Jamie Braidwood15 March 2022 17:20
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BREAKING: Chelsea remove request to play Middlesbrough match behind closed doors after backlash

Chelsea have removed their request to play Saturday’s FA Cup quarter-final at Middlesbrough behind closed doors, completing a remarkable U-Turn after their original statement was greeted with derision.

Middlesbrough labelled Chelsea’s attempts to play the match in an empty stadium as “bizarre and without merit” while adding the club’s claim that allowing home supporters to attend risked “sporting integrity” was “ironic in the extreme”.

A statement provided by the FA read: “After constructive talks between the FA and Chelsea, the club has agreed to remove their request.”

Chelsea had applied for the match to take place behind closed doors after they were not allowed to sell any more away tickets for the match due to the sanctions placed on club owner Roman Abramovich.

Chelsea remove request to play Middlesbrough match behind closed doors

Chelsea have removed their request to play Saturday’s FA Cup quarter-final at Middlesbrough behind closed doors, completing a remarkable U-Turn after their original statement was greeted with derision.

Jamie Braidwood15 March 2022 17:13

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