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Sanctions Hit Chelsea FC, Can’t Fly To Saturday’s FA Cup Quarter-final At Middlesbrough, To Make Grueling 10-hour round-trip Bus Journey

The reality of the impact of Chelsea‘s sanctions will be in full effect for Saturday with the club unable to fly to Middlesbrough and back for their FA Cup quarter-final. Instead they will have to undertake a 10-hour round-trip by coach consisting of 536 miles from their Cobham training base in Surry to the Riverside Stadium.

The Blues are still reeling from the UK Government‘s decision last Thursday due to their owner Roman Abramovich‘s close links with Russian president Vladimir Putin.

And those sanctions will hit the first-team at the weekend with limitations put on their abilities to travel to matches.

Chelsea’s next match is on Wednesday night at French outfit Lille in the Champions League last 16. However, with travel arrangements in place before the sanctions were enforced those plans are allowed to remain intact. 

Saturday’s trip to face Middlesbrough in the FA Cup is the first fixture that will be affected as plans were not in place before the sanctions, hence the 10-hour round-trip by coach that is pending. 

The Stamford Bridge outfit have been told the £20,000 cap imposed by the UK Government on the per-match travel expenses would not cover the cost of hiring a plane to take them to the Riverside Stadium. 

Speaking ahead of Wednesday night’s Champions League last-16 second-leg clash at Lille, Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel confirmed that their preparations will differ once their trip to France has concluded.

‘We want to find solutions, we want to play the match on Saturday as much as we want to play in the Champions League,’ he said.

Chelsea will have to travel via a team bus for their FA Cup quarter-final to Middlesbrough after being told they cannot fly following the sanctions imposed on the club by the UK Government

Chelsea will have to travel via a team bus for their FA Cup quarter-final to Middlesbrough after being told they cannot fly following the sanctions imposed on the club by the UK Government

‘We have a framework to play in Lille with no excuses. It is difficult to arrange things in the best way possible for the FA Cup, but we will deal with it. 

‘It isn’t about luxury and bling-bling. This is just a pro level of sports, where we play with two days between matches with our opponent having four days between matches and we arrive with the possibilities of injuries. 

‘For that, it is better to arrive with a plan rather than a bus.’

These travel woes aren’t also affecting the first-team. Chelsea had plans to put on a charter train service from London to Middlesbrough but that now isn’t possible either. 

‘We can confirm it is not possible to run a charter train service from London to Middlesbrough for our FA Cup quarter-final,’ they announced last week.

‘Coach travel to the Riverside Stadium and back is on sale at the price of £10. The coaches (including a wheelchair accessible coach) will depart Stamford Bridge at 9.15am and Newport Pagnell at 10.45am on the day of the game, Saturday 19 March.’

It’s just the latest issue Chelsea have to tackle in a tumultuous few weeks for the club.

Abramovich had been sanctioned on the back of his homeland Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Russian oligarchs have been targeted since the start of the war and Abramovich was a known ally of president Putin.

Abramovich had already lined up to sell the club following the invasion, and he still will be able to do so as long as he doesn’t financially benefit from the sale.

Russia’s war in Ukraine shifted the geopolitical picture to the extent where Chelsea must now operate under a stringent Government licence, to ensure Abramovich does not profit from the Blues. 

First published in Daily Mail (UK)

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