Chelsea blow as Government ban them from letting more fans in ground and selling tickets for final Premier League games

THE GOVERNMENT have refused to back down and allow more Chelsea fans into the final four Premier League home matches.

The club is up for sale by owner Roman Abramovich after his assets were frozen in the UK following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The Blues cannot sell new tickets to fans at Stamford Bridge this season as part of the severe restrictions put in place.

The Chelsea Supporters' Trust met with DCMS officials on March 10 but said on Tuesday they had been left “disappointed” with the lack of a response.

The CST has called on the Government to make “further amends” to the club’s special licence “so as not to punish” fans.

Brentford tickets this weekend were sold before any sanctions but Thomas Tuchel’s side have to play Arsenal, West Ham, Wolves and Watford in their last four league clashes in West London.

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Asked if he would consider amending the licence, Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston said: “We have had constant dialogue with the team here with Chelsea fans.

“I’ve been very honest and open with Chelsea fans saying ‘this will have an impact because Abramovich has been sanctioned and he is the owner of the club’.

“We have tried to make reasonable modifications to the licence to enable fans to engage with the club and continue as much as reasonably possible.

“But the sanctions do mean we’ve got to be really careful of making sure there isn’t any incremental new revenue generation. That was part of the sanctions.

“So we have moderated it where we can, but as it relates to home matches, of course, that’s difficult

“I think there’s only about 4,000 tickets out of 40,000 home fans, so we’re not talking about huge volumes here.

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“Look, I continue to work with the fans but I was very clear from day one and it’s still the case – this is not business as usual. This is a different world because the club’s owner has been sanctioned.

“It’s not business as usual. The owner of the club has been sanctioned and there will obviously and inevitably be consequences of that and some temporary inconvenience for fans.

“In the whole scheme of things if you look at what has been enabled, with the cup games and the away games and so on, actually we have literally tried to bend over backwards to help the fans.

“But there’s always going to be some consequences that cause some inconvenience.

“I’m sorry for the fans for that but you know, that’s part of being sanctioned, it’s not business as usual.”

Chelsea should have new owners by the end of next month with four bidders left in the frame.

Huddleston wants the new prospective owners to “engage with fans and look at options on how they could best involve them in the future”.

He added: “I do expect football to treat fans properly and carefully and there is a lot of things football can do.

“I need to make sure that every single element and iota of regulation or behaviour in football shouldn’t fall on my desk as the Minister of Sport.

“I expect and require football to do the right thing and one of those things is listening to fans far more carefully.”

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