“Thank you for ruining my evening,” said Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel with a smile, following his team 4-1 overall victory over Lillewhen asked about the prospect of playing their next European match at Stamford Bridge without any fans.
After joking that his “good mood” was gone, Tuchel stressed that he will wait for the “confirmation of the confirmation”, where Uefa is working to get “full clarity” after the Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich was affected by EU sanctions.
The British government had already frozen Abramovich’s assetswhich throws Chelsea into turmoil as a result with sponsors suspend agreementsthe club shop closed and their budget for outdoor travel was limited.
Also the sanctions prevent the club from selling ticketswhich means their Champions League match could be the first match without any Chelsea supporters I understands that government negotiations will take place with Uefa once more details of their quarter-final equation are known.
Who could Chelsea draw in the quarter-finals?
Defending champions Chelsea booked their place in the last eight Wednesday night. There are no restrictions on who they can meet, which means they can be drawn against Liverpool or Manchester Town.
Three Spanish clubs also came to the neighborhood, Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid and Villarrealwith German masters Bayern Munich and Portuguese side Benfica also in the pot.
The first matches will be played on April 5 or 6, with the return leg a week later.
Why can no Chelsea fans attend?
After Abramovich was hit by sanctions, the Treasury Department gave Chelsea a list what they can and cannot do.
Regarding tickets, the special license states: “Persons who have purchased tickets before 10 March 2022, including season tickets purchased before this date, are allowed to attend events and buy refreshments for furniture.
“Where persons pay for season tickets at fixed rates, those persons who have entered into a payment plan before that date may continue to pay.”
This means that season ticket holders can still take part in matches at Stamford Bridge, even though season tickets only cover Premier League matches where cup tournaments such as the Champions League are not included.
As a result, no Chelsea fan has a ticket to their Champions League quarter-final match.
Could the British government intervene?
I understands that the government will hold talks with Uefa in due course, although with the draw not yet taking place, it is not clear who Chelsea will face and what date the match will be held.
The government has collaborated with the club and relevant football authorities on ticket sales for upcoming matches, but the finer details of this match are not yet known.
Any ticket revenue generated can not result in financial gain for Abramovich, and so alternative options can be explored as long as Chelsea do not profit.
Could away fans still attend?
The document “Regulations of the Uefa Champions League” regarding UEFA’s website states that “each club retains its receipts from the sale of match tickets and bears all its expenses”.
This means that each club retains the revenue from tickets they sell, suggesting that clubs drawn to face Chelsea can still sell tickets for their away game at Stamford Bridge, although it remains to be seen whether Uefa will allow it to happen.
Chelsea had already mentioned “sporting integrity” regarding tickets for their FA Cup away game to Middlesbrough on Saturday, however backed back quickly after calling for that match to be played behind closed doors.
In this case, a decision by Uefa regarding away fans may have to be made if Chelsea supporters are unable to attend.
What has UEFA said?
A Uefa statement read: “Uefa is fully committed to always implementing relevant EU and international sanctions. Our understanding is that the present case is being assessed in the context of the license issued in the UK which allows Chelsea FC to continue the minimum football activity, while at the same time providing a guarantee that Mr Abramovich will not make a financial profit.
“We will work with the EU and relevant Member States to ensure that we have full clarity and remain in lock-in stages with all relevant and applicable measures in line with recent developments.
“UEFA will continue to work closely with and support Chelsea’s players, staff and fans during these difficult times to enable them to represent their colors on the pitch.”
Can Chelsea be thrown out of the Champions League?
This was made by Telegraph Thursday, when Chelsea’s continued participation in the competition was reportedly uncertain.
With Liverpool and Manchester City’s possible quarter-final opponents, both matches would be played in England, where Chelsea will be allowed to continue playing.
However, if they draw Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Villarreal, Bayern Munich or Benfica, Chelsea may be unable to travel to Spain, Germany or Portugal due to EU sanctions, leaving it to Uefa to decide whether to must move their away match or throw them out of the competition.
The latter seems to be the extreme option and Chelsea will be hoping that theirs match against Lille in France started Wednesday, after the imposition of EU sanctions against Abramovich, means they will also be allowed to play future matches in Europe.