Chelsea: Empty seats at Stamford Bridge for Arsenal clash as sanctions begin to hit home games

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‘There’s nobody here’: Arsenal fans mock Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in what is the first game to be impacted by sanctions against owner Roman Abramovich with the crowd limited to just 25,000 season ticket holders compared to capacity of over 40,000

  • Chelsea were unable to sell match tickets for their clash against Arsenal 
  • It is the first game to be impacted by sanctions against Roman Abramovich
  • Only 25,000 season-ticket holders are allowed compared to the usual 40,000
  • Arsenal fans quickly mocked Chelsea chanting ‘there’s nobody here’ 

Chelsea’s attendance at Stamford Bridge has been hit for the first time since sanctions were placed against owner Roman Abramovich.   

The club are unable to sell match tickets because of sanctions placed against their owner last month following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

This marks the first time that the sanction will directly impact a home game, as tickets for matches before now had already been sold.

That means just 25,000 season ticket holders will attend Wednesday’s game in a stadium that holds more than 40,000.  

The large amount of empty seats were clearly visible as the match between the two London rivals got underway.

Arsenal fans were quick to mock Chelsea’s situation, as they chanted ‘there’s nobody here’ in the early minutes of the game.  

Chelsea's game with Arsenal is their first to be impacted since sanctions were imposed against their Russian owner Roman Abramovich last month after Russia's invasion of Ukraine

Chelsea’s game with Arsenal is their first to be impacted since sanctions were imposed against their Russian owner Roman Abramovich last month after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

Only Chelsea season ticket holders were able to attend their league clash against Arsenal

Only Chelsea season ticket holders were able to attend their league clash against Arsenal

Non season ticket holders were unable to buy tickets for the match with their London rivals

Non season ticket holders were unable to buy tickets for the match with their London rivals 

Chelsea have further home games against West Ham, Wolves, Leicester and Watford this season – which could see a similar limitation to the number of supporters at Stamford Bridge.

The government’s decision to limit the size of the Chelsea crowd came after Abramovich was named among seven oligarchs to be hit with an asset freeze and travel ban under UK sanctions.

Abramovich has also since put the club for sale after 19 years in charge of the Londoners, with a decision on who takes over the club expected by the end of the season. 

The government decided to prohibit Abramovich from completing transactions with UK individuals and businesses due to his proximity to the Russian state. 

The attendance at Chelsea's game against Arsenal is the first to be impacted since Roman Abramovich was sanctioned with the club already selling tickets for games before this

The attendance at Chelsea’s game against Arsenal is the first to be impacted since Roman Abramovich was sanctioned with the club already selling tickets for games before this 

However, they have allowed Chelsea to continue but under strict conditions that have been designed to prevent Abramovich from profiting from the club’s activities.

As a result, the club will be allowed to finish the season as planned but only a select number of existing ticket holders – including fans with season tickets – will be allowed to attend games. 

The club should be able to sell tickets as normal when the takeover is completed.

Former Chelsea player Paul Canoville vented his frustration at the fact Chelsea have to play in front of a smaller crowd at Stamford Bridge.

Canoville took to Twitter to write: ‘Tonight will see huge swathe of Chelsea members seats empty while Arsenal been allowed to fill out away section.

‘Ex players can’t even buy our two tickets allocated. These go to my Foundation to support our work @NadineDorries @nigelhuddleston @GregHands. This is nonsense #Chelsea.’

He accompanied the caption with a graphic that read: ‘Everyone has the right to be stupid but you are using it as a privilege.’

Despite the lower attendance, manager Thomas Tuchel was insistent this week that it would not prove to be an advantage for the Gunners.

Paul Canoville has taken to social media to fume over the ticket situation at Chelsea

Paul Canoville has taken to social media to fume over the ticket situation at Chelsea

He said: ‘It’s not an advantage. We want to play home matches in front of a full stadium. The game is for the spectators and supporters so that’s bad news actually. I was not aware of it.

‘Maybe someone told me and I forgot it, this is possible, but let’s turn things around on it.

‘Maybe everybody [the supporters] are aware of this and push a little bit more because we lack quantity but should not lack quality of support. I can only remind everybody of the match against Leicester last season of the Covid situation – it was first occasion spectators were allowed at the Bridge.

‘There was like 15,000 and all the players said it felt like a full stadium. Hopefully, we can be the spark to bring everybody into that kind of mood to give a little bit more than normal.’

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