Ukraine-Russia crisis

Tuchel understands criticism of Chelsea and owner Abramovich amid escalating Ukraine crisis

00:30 SAST 2022/02/26
Roman Abramovich FC Chelsea
The club's Russian billionaire owner has faced major questions amid the escalating crisis in Ukraine

Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel has said he can understand the criticism levelled at the club and its billionaire Russian owner Roman Abramovich amid the escalating crisis in Ukraine.

Russia, led by its president Vladimir Putin, has begun an invasion of Ukraine that has led to widespread condemnation and has already caused the Champions League final to be moved from Russia.

Abramovich has been named as a person who could potentially be sanctioned by the UK due to alleged ties to the Russian state.

What was said?

"We should not pretend that this is not an issue," Tuchel said. "The situation in general, for me and for my staff and for everybody here at Cobham, for the players, is horrible.

"Nobody expected this. It’s pretty unreal, it’s clouding our minds, it’s clouding excitement towards the [Carabao Cup] final and it brings huge uncertainty.

"To a certain degree I can understand it to such a degree the opinions and the critical opinions towards the club, towards us who represent that club. I can understand that and we cannot fully free ourselves from it.

“Maybe people understand that me as a coach or the players, we don’t have the insight what is really going on. At the moment we don’t feel responsible for all this. We feel that it is horrible and there can be no doubt about it. War in Europe was unthinkable for me for a long period.

“The impact is clear and the discussions have an impact. Let’s be a bit more patient and understand what the measurements will be and then we have to maybe deal with it.”

Abramovich stays quiet

Those close to Abramovich at Chelsea have remained quiet since the outbreak of fighting in Ukraine.

Meanwhile Labour MP Chris Bryant called on Abramovich to be sanctioned and stripped of his ownership of the club earlier this week.

"Surely Mr Abramovich should no longer be able to own a football club in this country?" Bryant said.

"Surely we should be looking at seizing some of his assets, including his £150 million home, and making sure that other people who have had tier 1 visas like this are not engaged in malign activity in the UK?”

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