Middlesbrough slam 'bizarre' request from Chelsea to play behind closed doors
Boro say that Chelsea's statement is 'grossly unfair' and 'without any foundation.'
Middlesbrough have criticised the 'bizarre' request from Chelsea to play their FA Cup tie against Middlesbrough behind closed doors following the sanctions placed on club owner Roman Abramovich.
The Blues requested that their FA Cup quarter-final against Boro on Saturday was to be played behind closed doors for the sake of "sporting integrity."
The Championship outfit released a statement in response to the Blues' request, which read: "We are aware of Chelsea's request to have Saturday's Emirates FA Cup sixth round tie played behind closed doors and find their suggestion both bizarre and without any merit whatsoever.
"All concerned are well aware of the reasons Chelsea have been sanctioned and that this has nothing to do with Middlesbrough Football Club.
"To suggest as a result that MFC and our fans should be penalised is not only grossly unfair but without any foundation.
"Given the reasons for these sanctions, for Chelsea to seek to invoke sporting 'integrity' as a reason for the game being played behind closed doors is ironic in the extreme.
"We currently await formal notification from the FA of the next steps but rest assured MFC will resist Chelsea's actions in the strongest terms."