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Middlesbrough to donate Chelsea ticket money to Ukraine

LONDON (AFP) – Middlesbrough will donate their share of gate receipts from their FA Cup quarter-final match against Chelsea to humanitarian aid in Ukraine, the club announced on Friday.

European champions Chelsea are operating under a special licence allowing them to fulfil fixtures despite the United Kingdom government sanctions placed on owner Roman Abramovich in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine for his alleged ties to Vladimir Putin.

However, the Blues have not been allowed to sell tickets to fans and initially requested that their clash with Middlesbrough was played behind closed doors on sporting integrity grounds.

That request was quickly withdrawn amid a backlash from politicians, the football authorities and Middlesbrough chairman Steve Gibson. ”Sporting integrity and Chelsea do not belong in the same sentence,” Gibson told The Times.

In a statement, the Championship club said, ”On behalf of the people of Middlesbrough and Teesside, Middlesbrough Football Club will donate its share of the gate receipts from the Emirates FA Cup sixth round tie against Chelsea to humanitarian aid in Ukraine.

”The club’s Member of Parliament Andy McDonald will assist with due diligence to ensure best delivery and maximum impact.”