THE FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION is in talks with the Government to ensure Chelsea fans can attend next month’s FA Cup semi-final against Crystal Palace.
The Blues are currently banned from selling tickets due to the sanctions against owner Roman Abramovich.
Crisis club Chelsea took just 600 fans out of their allocation of 4,500 tickets for last Saturday’s quarter-final win over Middlesbrough.
As a result, there were fears that Wembley’s 90,000 capacity for the London derby over the weekend of 16/17 May would be too tight. April could be half full.
But an FA statement last night read: “We hope to have sell-out crowds for our two FA Cup semi-final games at Wembley.
“This includes tickets for Chelsea fans to their game against Crystal Palace and we are working with the Government on a method to achieve this while respecting the sanctions currently being imposed on Chelsea.”
Earlier, Julian Knight MP – chairman of the Committee on Digital, Culture, Media and Sport – had criticized the situation, saying money from ticket sales should go to victims of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
He said: “It’s ridiculous that we’re faced with the prospect of a half-full Wembley for the FA Cup semi-final between Chelsea and Palace. Chelsea is more than just its owner, it is a living organism with enormous importance for its fans and the community.
“It was understandable that last week’s game against Middlesbrough was played without Chelsea fans at short notice. But with so much advance notice, the FA have no excuse to rule them out.
“The FA must be allowed to sell tickets to Chelsea fans as long as all the money goes to the people of Ukraine.”
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Despite the FA’s hopes, the last four cup games over the Easter weekend threatened to descend into chaos as problems also plagued the clash between the two top league players, Manchester City and Liverpool.
Supporters of both clubs are grappling with travel issues with no direct trains from the north-west this weekend, regardless of whether the game is played on Saturday or Sunday.
Construction work leading to closures between Milton Keynes and London Euston means fans will be unable to travel directly by train from either Manchester or Liverpool.
A spokesman for City said they are aware of the issues and are looking into the possibility of offering bus travel for their supporters.
But the concern is that thousands of fans will be driving on roads that will already be busy due to the bank holiday weekend.
The FA are working with City and Liverpool over the logistical nightmare, with Reds boss Jurgen Klopp urging authorities to find a solution following Sunday’s 1-0 win at Nottingham Forest.
The FA statement read: “The FA will work closely with both clubs on all match arrangements, including fan travel – more details to be announced in due course.
“We continue to work with both Network Rail and National Express to find a solution so fans of both clubs can travel with as little disruption as possible.”
Malcolm Clarke, chairman of the Football Supporters Association, said it would make sense if the planned engineering work could be relocated.
He said: “The FA, clubs and rail authorities must work together to ensure fans’ journeys to the semi-finals are disrupted as little as possible.”
https://www.the-sun.com/sport/football/premier-league/4946603/chelsea-fa-cup-semi-final-ticket/ Chelsea could play the FA Cup semi-finals in front of fans while The FA is set to hold talks with the Government over the ticket ban