Chelsea: Thomas Tuchel Says Chelsea Face An Uncertain Future After Owner Roman Abramovich Was Sanctioned

Thomas Tuchel says Chelsea face an uncertain future but has promised the team will keep competing on the pitch.

Chelsea won 3-1 at Norwich hours after owner Roman Abramovich was sanctioned by the UK government.

“As long as we have enough shirts and a bus to drive to the games, we’ll be there and will compete hard,” boss Tuchel told BBC Radio 5 Live.

“We take it day by day. I didn’t see that coming yesterday and I don’t know what is coming tomorrow.”

Chelsea fans chanted Abramovich’s name during the victory at bottom club Norwich which strengthened the club’s grip on third place in the Premier League table.

Tuchel said the the off-field developments had proved “another level of distraction”.

The German added: “Of course the subject is there, the talks are going on, so there is a certain distraction. The level of impact it has – the news of today is big – in time we don’t know how big.

“We cannot influence it.”

Chelsea’s women’s team were also in action at the same time as Tuchel’s side.

They won 4-1 at West Ham in the Women’s Super League and boss Emma Hayes said: “I can’t get too wrapped up in it when there’s a war going on in Ukraine.

“We are Chelsea and we will prevail. There will be solutions, we just need to be patient.”

Chelsea fans at Norwich, just hours after club owner Roman Abramovich was sanctioned by the UK governments
Chelsea fans at Norwich, just hours after club owner Roman Abramovich was sanctioned by the UK governments

‘I am happy to be manager of a strong team’

Tuchel also said he is “still happy” to be manager of the club after Abramovich was sanctioned.

Russian Abramovich has had his assets frozen following his country’s invasion of Ukraine and his sale of the club has been halted.

The move is intended to stop Abramovich making money from Chelsea.

“I’m not sure I am concerned, but I am aware of it,” added Tuchel.

“It changes almost every day. I am still happy to be here and still happy to be manager of a strong team. I know there is a lot of noise around.”

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel (left) and Norwich City boss Dean Smith
Tuchel’s side played Dean Smith’s Norwich City on the day the UK government sanctioned Abramovich

Tuchel was appointed Chelsea manager in January 2021 and led the club to victory in the Champions League last season.

He added: “It is quite a big change from yesterday to today but we can’t influence it, we didn’t cause the situation.

“In the moment, it seems that business, let’s say football-wise, is more or less protected, but let’s see.

“I feel privileged to have the chance to be involved in games, coaching and football that I love.”

Abramovich had put the European champions up for sale on 2 March after the threat of sanctions was raised in Parliament.

The introduction of sanctions eight days later means Chelsea cannot sell further match tickets, although the government has issued a special licence that will allow the club to fulfil its fixtures, staff to be paid and existing ticket-holders to attend matches.

However, Chelsea’s shirt sponsor, telecommunications company Three, has requested to “temporarily suspend” its deal with the club.

The club will be unable to buy or sell players, or offer new contracts, while the sanctions are imposed on Abramovich. Chelsea-owned players on loan at other teams will be able to continue to play for those clubs.

The London side’s merchandise shop has also been shut.

Chelsea have said they “intend to engage in discussions” with the government and will seek amendments to the special licence to “allow the club to operate as normal as possible”.

The government is open to considering a further addition to the special licence which will allow the sale of the club.

A condition for that to happen would be that Abramovich – one of Russia’s richest people and believed to be close to Russian president Vladimir Putin – receives no funds.

He has previously said proceeds of any sale would be donated to “victims of the war in Ukraine”.

‘There are bigger situations’

Speaking after Chelsea beat West Ham to move to within five points of WSL leaders Arsenal, Hayes said there were a “million questions” that needed answering.

But she added: “I don’t battle with things I cannot control. I will probably learn more in the coming days and weeks.

“We’re aware of what’s going on, but there’s a war going on in Ukraine, there are bigger situations.

“It’s important for the players, the staff, the fans to be patient and let’s sort through that and hopefully that process won’t take too long.”

Chelsea boss Emma Hayes
Emma Hayes has appealed for fans to be patient and that Chelsea will prevail

‘It’s not hyperbole to say the future of the club is in serious danger’

Analysis: Pat Nevin, former Chelsea winger speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live

We are in unchartered water, but the football side, what will happen to the club now? No-one knows. I can tell you something, it’s very serious.

I heard someone say recently the wage bill is £28m a week. Where will you get that if you can’t trade? If this carries on for a period of time, it’s strange looking to see how the club is viable in its current form.

It’s not hyperbole to say the future of the club is in serious danger.

I can’t say ‘everything will be OK’. I think the club will survive. Will it look the same after all this is over? No, I don’t think that will be the case.


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