Piers Morgan and Gary Lineker have both slammed Chelsea’s attempts to “bully” the FA into ruling that their FA Cup quarter-final with Middlesbrough should be played without fans
Piers Morgan and Gary Lineker have both condemned Chelsea’s attempts to “bully” the FA into allowing their FA Cup quarter-final clash with Middlesbrough to be played behind closed doors.
The Blues are currently unable to sell any tickets or merchandise as a result of sanctions placed on Roman Abramovich by the UK Government. As a result, the Londoners are operating on a special license which restricts their revenue streams.
That means Chelsea are unable to sell any additional tickets for this weekend’s cup date on Teeside. And it led to the Blues making a bizarre request for the game to be played without any fans at all “for matters of sporting integrity” – despite the fact that some away fans had already purchased tickets for the game before Abramovich was sanctioned.
Unsurprisingly, the Blues were met with a severe backlash from all angles as a result of their bizarre request. And Chelsea’s move even led to Morgan and Lineker – two friends often clash on social media – in agreement with their verdict on the debacle.
Morgan even accused Chelsea of attempting to “bully” the FA into doing their bidding. He tweeted: “Excellent response. Chelsea are in no position to bully anyone into doing what suits them.”
And while Lineker stopped short of levelling a similar accusation at the Blues, he also conceded that it was a ridiculous request to make, tweeting: “So @ChelseaFC have now removed their request for the FA Cup tie at @Boro to be played behind closed doors. The right move. Not sure whose idea it was to make the request in the first place. What on earth were they thinking?”
Unsurprisingly, Chelsea’s ill-fated request failed to get off the ground – despite the FA stating that the proposal would be discussed on Wednesday. Just hours after the Blues lodged their request, it was revealed that it had been withdrawn.
A statement from the FA statement released on Wednesday afternoon read: “After constructive talks between The FA and Chelsea, the club has agreed to remove their request for the Emirates FA Cup Quarter Final tie against Middlesbrough to be played behind closed doors.
“The FA remains in ongoing discussions with Chelsea, the Premier League and the Government to find a solution that would enable both Chelsea fans to attend games and away fans to attend Stamford Bridge, whilst ensuring sanctions are respected.”
As well as being blasted by Morgan, Lineker and a host of fans online, Middlesbrough chairman Steve Gibson also hit out at Chelsea’s request. And he accused the Blues of being “pathetic” hours after the Blues statement was released.
He told The Times : “I can’t believe it. Sporting integrity and Chelsea do not belong in the same sentence. For 19 years corrupt money has fuelled Chelsea’s success.
“If they were to beat us in the FA Cup, with no fans there, what would that do to the integrity of the competition? Are they going to play all their Premier League games behind closed doors too? This is pathetic by Chelsea.”