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Chelsea play first reduced capacity match as government sanctions on Roman Abramovich hit

22:21 EAT 20/04/2022
Elneny Chelsea Arsenal 2022
There were large swathes of empty seats around the Blues ground this evening for the Gunners' visit

Chelsea's Stamford Bridge home was reduced to a capacity of around 32,000 for the first time for Arsenal's visit on Wednesday as a result of sanctions placed on outgoing owner Roman Abramovich.

The club has been hit with severe restrictions due to its association with Abramovich, following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

One of the measures handed down by the UK government was a ban on ticket selling, which will cause the Blues' home ground to look rather empty for the Premier League clash.

Why is Stamford Bridge under capacity?

Under the terms of the sanctions imposed on Abramovich and Chelsea, the club has seen its ability to operate and trade reduced.

One of the aspects affected is in matchday income, and specifically the sale of tickets following the restrictions.

While season ticket holders are still permitted to attend, Chelsea were unable to sell any further places for this match or any of their following games.

That means of the 40,000 seats available at Stamford Bridge, just over 32,000 were occupied for the London derby.

What does Tuchel think of the situation?

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel was caught by surprise by the ban, but urged those who would be attending to make up for the empty seats themselves.

"That is not an advantage because we want to play home matches and in general we want to play in front of a full stadium and the game is for the spectators and supporters. That's bad news, actually," the German told reporters.

"I was not aware of it. Maybe someone told me and I forgot it! Let's turn things around, maybe everyone (there) is aware of that and pushes a little bit more. We lack quantity but we should not lack quality of support."

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