‘No excuse’ for excluding Chelsea fans from FA Cup semi-final, says leading MP

There is “no excuse” for stopping Chelsea fans attending their FA Cup semi-final against Crystal Palace while Roman Abramovich remains sanctioned by the Government, a leading MP has proclaimed.

Julian Knight, the chairman of the Digital, Culture, Media & Sport select committee, branded it “ridiculous” that a solution had yet to be found to allow the crisis club’s supporters to obtain tickets for next month’s fixture.

Chelsea, who beat Middlesbrough on Saturday to reach the FA Cup semi-finals, were banned from selling tickets as part of the sanctions imposed on owner Abramovich over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

As revealed by Telegraph Sport, the Government last week agreed to examine ways their fans could be allowed to attend matches – including their Champions League quarter-final first leg against Real Madrid – without the club receiving the revenue.

Amid ongoing talks between Whitehall officials, the Football Association and Uefa that could see the money generated donated to Ukrainian victims of the war, Knight said: “It is ridiculous that we face the prospect of a half-full Wembley for the Chelsea vs Palace FA Cup semi-final. 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.”

There were several hundred Chelsea fans at Middlesbrough after they bought tickets before sanctions were imposed on Abramovich.

At present, the only supporters allowed to attend their home matches are those also to have already bought tickets – including season tickets.

Season tickets do not cover cup competitions, meaning Chelsea fans could not attend their next Champions League or FA Cup games unless a solution was agreed.

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