220119 Tuchel
Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel has put up a brave front in marshalling his team members in the face of an unprecedented financial crisis. Image Credit: AP

London: Chelsea is asking for their FA Cup game against Middlesbrough to be played without a crowd because the government won’t allow it to sell any tickets under the terms of its license to operate after owner Roman Abramovich was sanctioned.

Chelsea said it had been in ‘‘extensive discussions’’ with the office of financial sanctions implementations ahead of Saturday’s away game.

‘‘It is important for the competition that the match against Middlesbrough goes ahead,’’ Chelsea said in a statement on Tuesday, “however it is with extreme reluctance that we are asking the FA board to direct that the game be played behind closed doors for matters of sporting integrity.

‘‘Chelsea FC recognises that such an outcome would have a huge impact on Middlesbrough and its supporters, as well as our own fans who have already bought the limited number of tickets that were sold before the license was imposed, but we believe this is the fairest way of proceeding in the current circumstances.’’

Abramovich’s assets were frozen after he was sanctioned by the British government last week over his ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin following the start of the war on Ukraine.