Boro chair:


Boro chair: "Chelsea & sporting integrity don't belong in same sentence"

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Middlesbrough chairman Steve Gibson has branded a Chelsea request to play this weekend's FA Cup 6th round tie behind closed doors as "pathetic". 

The Premier League club are unable to sell tickets to potential travelling supporters for the game at the Riverside, as part of sanctions imposed on owner Roman Abramovich.

Chelsea have made a plea to the FA to have the game played behind closed doors "for matters of sporting integrity".

That request has not gone down well at Boro. The club released an official statement on Tuesday, saying "their suggestion both bizarre and without any merit whatsoever."

They added, "Given the reasons for these sanctions, for Chelsea to seek to invoke sporting "integrity" as reason for the game being played behind closed doors is ironic in the extreme."

Middlesbrough chairman Steve Gibson, however, went in harder when speaking to The Telegraph.

“The words 'sporting integrity' and Chelsea don't belong in the same sentence. For 19 years, money has fuelled the success of Chelsea Football Club," he said.

"Our fans, our club, our players and our manager have done nothing wrong.

"If Chelsea were to succeed, and the game be played behind closed doors, does that mean all the Premier League games have to be played behind closed doors? And all the Champions League games? And for what reason? Because of their owner, all the rest of us have to suffer.

"This has to be kicked out and [Chelsea chairman] Bruce Buck should be kicked out.”

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Chelsea Fa Cup Middlesbrough Roman Abramovich Russia Steve Gibson

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