Paul Canoville has vented his frustration at the fact Chelsea have to play in front of a smaller crowd at Stamford Bridge due to the sanctions imposed on their owner Roman Abramovich.
Chelsea are set to host Arsenal in their Premier League fixture on Wednesday evening but the crowd has been limited to to around 25,000 season-ticket holders compared to its capacity of more than 40,000.
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 the UK sanctions.
The government decided to prohibit Abramovich from completing transactions with UK individuals and businesses due to his proximity to the Russian state.
They have allowed Chelsea Football to continue but under strict conditions that have been designed to prevent Abramovich from profiting from the club’s activities in the Premier League.
As a result, the club will be allowed finish their season as planned but only a select number of existing ticket holders – including fans with season tickets – will be allowed to attend games.
Blues owner Abramovich has been financially sanctioned by the UK government.
Canoville is furious with the government’s decision to prevent fans and former players from attending the games.
He referred to their decision as ‘nonsense’ and claimed it was impacting his ‘Foundation’.
Canoville’s Foundation works with schools and youth organisations to promote confidence, well being, diversity and resilience through workshops and sporting activities in conjunction with our partners.
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.
He accompanied the caption with a graphic that read: ‘Everyone has the right to be stupid but you are using it as a privilege.
The decision to implement restrictions on the number of Chelsea fans that can attend a game came in March 2022.
Speaking about the decision, Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said: ‘Today’s sanctions obviously have a direct impact on Chelsea and its fans.
‘We have been working hard to ensure the club and the national game are not unnecessarily harmed by these important sanctions.
‘To ensure the club can continue to compete and operate we are issuing a special licence that will allow fixtures to be fulfilled, staff to be paid and existing ticket holders to attend matches while, crucially, depriving Abramovich of benefiting from his ownership of the club.
Despite being the manager of Chelsea football club, Thomas Tuchel revealed on Tuesday that he was unaware of the ticket situation.
Once he was informed he called on fans to ‘push a bit more’ to make up for the lack of supporters.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference, he said: ‘Oh, OK. Erm, 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.
Maybe someone told me and I forgot it! Let’s turn things around, maybe everyone is aware of that and pushes a little bit more.
We lack quantity but we should not lack quality of support.
‘Against Leicester last season after Covid, it was the first time spectators were allowed at the Bridge, it was like 15,000 and the players said it felt like a full stadium.
We can be the spark that can bring everybody into a mood.