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Chelsea to play UCL home fixtures behind closed doors

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Chelsea football club branding seen at the ground during the Premier League match between Chelsea and Newcastle United at Stamford Bridge on March 13, 2022 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Craig Mercer/MB Media/Getty Images)

Chelsea have been told they will have to play any Champions League home games behind closed doors as part of the new European Union restrictions imposed on the club.

Already sanctioned by the UK government, Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich was added to the EU’s list of individuals facing asset freezes on Tuesday.

The Blues were previously not permitted to sell tickets to domestic games as a result of the UK sanctions, but according to The Athletic, these latest European sanctions now bring their Champions League fixtures into question.

Tickets to European games are not permitted to be sold, meaning Chelsea will have to play their Champions League home games behind closed doors until a new owner is found.

UEFA have said that they “will work with the EU and relevant member states to ensure we have full clarity and remain in lockstep with all relevant and applicable measures.”

The Blues already have one foot in the quarter-finals of this season’s competition as they head to Lille on Wednesday with a two-goal advantage from the first leg of their last-16 tie.

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Should Chelsea progress, they face the possibility of playing any more home games without any fans inside Stamford Bridge.

The quarter-final has been earmarked for April 5/6, with the second leg to be held one week later, giving Chelsea under a month to either agree new terms of their restrictions or finalise a takeover.

After that, the semi-finals will begin on April 26, at which point Chelsea will hope to have finalised something to help them welcome fans to stadiums.

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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