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The semi-final with Tottenham will kick off at 6pm despite the club pleading with the Football Association to change it on the grounds of safety and in the event of a late finish

Chelsea have been left "bitterly disappointed" after the Football Association rejected their appeal to change the kick-off time of their FA Cup semi-final encounter at Wembley next week with Tottenham.

The west Londoners believe that they have been unfairly treated and that the FA is following broadcaster ITV's bidding as opposed to looking out for the safety and general welfare of fans for the match.

The Stamford Bridge hierarchy were determined to find a compromise but they have been left frustrated in their efforts after chief figures at Wembley declared that the game will commence as was originally planned, at 18:00.

Reports emerged this week that the reasoning behind the kick-off time was that ITV want to "lock in" their viewers ahead of the climax to their drama mini-series, 'Titanic'.

The time of the match has been set at the request of the broadcasters.

The Blues' protests have fallen on deaf ears, but it is understood that they were taken to an extremely serious level as club secretary David Barnard, who is a member of the FA Council board, put across their views vehemently.

Chelsea are 10/1 with Bet365 to defeat Wigan 3-1 in the Premier League on Saturday
Chelsea believe that they have sufficient reasons to justify their complaints. They feel that a potential all-day drinking session between the fans of two bitter London rivals could endanger fellow supporters.

They also believe that the decision to have the game kick off so late could backfire further if the match were to go to extra time and penalties.

Schools re-open the next day and engineering work on the mainline rail link could prove obstacles to supporters wishing to attend the game but the FA has stood firm and informed the club on Friday that the kick-off time would stay the same.

A Chelsea statement read: "We are bitterly disappointed with the FA's reasoning which appears to put TV considerations ahead of the safety issues and inconvenience to fans."

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