Chelsea are currently unable to generate new revenue, including from ticket sales, under the current licence imposed by the government; Julian Knight said: "It is ridiculous that we face the prospect of a half-full Wembley for the Chelsea vs Palace FA Cup semi-final"
Tuesday 22 March 2022 07:04, UK
Chelsea can now expect to have full support at their FA Cup semi-final against Crystal Palace.
Roman Abramovich's UK Government sanctions currently bar the club from selling any new tickets, but the Football Association has announced it is in talks with the government over amendments to the club's operating licence to allow tickets to be sold for next month's Wembley showdown.
"We hope to have sell-out crowds at both of our Emirates FA Cup semi-finals at Wembley Stadium," an FA spokesperson said.
"This includes tickets for Chelsea supporters for their match against Crystal Palace, and we are working with the government on a method to achieve this whilst respecting the sanctions that are currently in place on Chelsea."
Earlier, Julian Knight, the chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee, had called for changes to the special licence imposed upon the club.
Chelsea fans were unable to buy any tickets for the FA Cup quarter-final win at Middlesbrough beyond those purchased prior to the imposition of sanctions, but Knight insists a solution must be in place ahead of the semi-final against Palace.
"It is ridiculous that we face the prospect of a half-full Wembley for the Chelsea vs Palace FA Cup semi-final," Knight said before the FA released its statement.
"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."
Last Tuesday, Chelsea initially requested the match against Boro be played behind closed doors "for matters of sporting integrity" because of the inability to sell further tickets to travelling fans, but withdrew the request later the same day.
The club are currently unable to sell any new tickets in home sections of Stamford Bridge beyond those already sold, or sell tickets to visiting fans.
Unless the licence is changed, it means their Champions League quarter-final first leg at home to Real Madrid would be played behind closed doors.
Discussions between the government, the Premier League and the Football Association on ticketing are ongoing.
Sky Sports News chief reporter Kaveh Solhekol:
"Behind the scenes, there is a lot of work being done to make sure they will be able to buy tickets as soon as possible.
"The FA want them to be able to buy tickets, Chelsea as a club want their fans to watch them when they're playing.
"The Premier League and government are trying to sort something out.
"We spoke last Wednesday about one proposal to bring in a third party to distribute the sale of tickets, that's something the government are looking at. That's a possibility.
"As far as Chelsea fans are concerned, I think the good news is everybody wants them to be able to buy tickets as soon as possible."
The FA said it will work with Liverpool and Manchester City to help their fans attend the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley amid complaints about a lack of train services that weekend.
Liverpool supporters group 'Spirit of Shankly' and City's 'We are 1894' said in a joint statement that the match would be difficult for fans to attend as engineering work scheduled for April 16 and 17 means there will be no direct trains to London from Manchester and Merseyside.
"More than 64,000 travelling supporters will be forced on to the roads, which will already be overburdened with bank holiday traffic," the supporters groups said.
"For the other semi between Chelsea and Crystal Palace, Wembley makes sense. For Liverpool and City it makes no sense."
The FA said in a statement that it would meet Liverpool and City to discuss match arrangements and announce further details in due course.
"We are also continuing to work with both Network Rail and National Express to find a solution so that supporters of both teams are able to travel to and from the fixture, with as minimal disruption as possible," the FA said.
The supporters groups called for the match to be moved.
"City and Liverpool are less than 40 miles apart and there are plenty of grounds big enough far closer than Wembley to stage such a prestigious game," they added.
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