Middlesbrough will donate their share of the gate receipts from their FA Cup quarterfinal game against Chelsea to humanitarian aid in Ukraine, the club said on Friday.
The U.N. Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said earlier this week that nearly three million refugees have fled Ukraine, about 7% of the country’s population, since Russia’s invasion began on Feb. 24.
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“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,” Middlesbrough said.
“The club’s Member of Parliament Andy McDonald will assist with due diligence to ensure best delivery and maximum impact.”
Chelsea had made a request to the FA board for the match to be played behind closed doors, for reasons of “sporting integrity” because they are unable to sell tickets due to restrictions imposed by a British government licence.
Chelsea are dealing with government restrictions on their operations after sanctions were imposed on their Russian owner Roman Abramovich.
The London club later removed their request following backlash from Middlesbrough, politicians, football authorities and the Chelsea Supporters’ Trust.
Speaking to reporters ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup quarterfinal, Middlesbrough manager Chris Wilder said he had little sympathy for Chelsea, adding that they would bounce back from their struggles before long.
“It will go up for sale and it will be bought by a billionaire, who will possibly invest more money into it, they’ll possibly invest in the stadium, invest in the facilities,” Wilder said on Friday.
“I don’t think there’s, in the football world, an incredible amount of sympathy over what’s happening. It will be a period before the takeover and Chelsea will go again and they’ll go on from strength to strength.”