Chelsea urge ministers to allow ticket sales

Chelsea are pressing the British government to allow ticket sales, despite an asset freeze as a result of sanctions imposed on Russian owner Roman Abramovich.

Ministers have placed the Premier League club under a special licence after taking the action against the billionaire last week as part of a set of measures following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The licence is designed to prevent Chelsea and by extension Abramovich – described by the UK government as part of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle – from generating new revenue.

Chelsea released a statement on Monday evening saying they were pushing ministers for the right to sell tickets and holding daily meetings to get their licence amended.

The club said the Premier League and the Football Association had also raised “sporting integrity issues” over the ticket sale ban.

Chelsea cannot sell tickets to home areas of the ground, to away supporters visiting Stamford Bridge or to Blues fans wishing to watch their team when they play away under the stringent new rules.

“We are pressing the government to allow our supporters to have access to tickets,” the statement read.

“Meetings are taking place daily in search of a resolution. In addition, the Premier League and FA are also discussing with the government the sporting integrity issues raised if they do not permit fans to attend.

“We are aware of the high level of frustration our supporters are facing over this issue, and we are doing everything we can to resolve it as soon as possible.”

The club’s licence has already been amended since it was first imposed, with the limit on matchday spending increased from £500,000 ($650,000) to £900,000.

Chelsea have said they will push to have it further amended to allow them to operate as close to normal as possible.

Earlier Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman urged Chelsea fans to stop the chanting of Abramovich’s name at matches.

“We recognise the strength of feeling around people’s clubs but that does not excuse behaviour which is completely inappropriate at this time,” he said.

“I think people can show passion and support for their club without resorting to that sort of stuff.” -AFP

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