Chelsea have revealed that they have been unable to come to an agreement with the UK Government following the sanctions placed on their owner Roman Abramovich on March 10th.
The club's assets were frozen, and merchandise shop forced to close, as a result of the reputed links between Abramovich and Russian leader Vladimir Putin, who is currently engaging in an invasion of Ukraine.
As a result, Chelsea ticket sales have been frozen, with only current season ticket holder able to attend matches and no away tickets on sale.
Chelsea ask for behind closed doors FA Cup tie
Now, in a statement ahead of their trip to the Riverside Stadium to take on Middlesbrough, Chelsea claim that they have asked the FA for the tie to be moved behind closed doors, for the sake of 'sporting integrity'.
Taking to Twitter, the London club said:
'It is important for the competition that the match against Middlesbrough goes ahead, 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 licence was imposed, but we believe this is the fairest way of proceeding in the current circumstances.'
'We will continue to discuss the issue of ticket sales with OFSI as there are a number of fixtures still to be played this season and we hope to reach a resolution.'
With the Riverside club having already sold out their home allocation, it is unlikely that the Blues will have too much luck in their endeavours to stop 30,000 odd home fans supporting the FA Cup fairytale they have been swept up in.