Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel said that uncertainty over Russian owner Roman Abramovich’s future in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was weighing on the club ahead of their League Cup final against Liverpool on Sunday.
Abramovich, who bought Chelsea Football Club in 2003, has not faced any sanctions yet, but was named in Parliament on Thursday as Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled Britain’s largest-ever package of sanctions against Russia.
Tuchel said he was aware of British lawmakers’ discussions about Abramovich.
“I would love to take my right not to comment on this until there is a decision made,” Tuchel told reporters on Friday. “But we are aware of it and it’s distracting us, it’s worrying us.
“To a certain degree I can understand 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.”
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich celebrates on the pitch after the Uefa Champions League final match held at Estadio do Dragao in Porto, Portugal (Adam Davy/PA)
Tuchel added that he and his players would struggle to shut out thoughts about the conflict in Ukraine and shift their focus to the League Cup final.
“I think the situation is too big and it is not an isolated situation somewhere,” Tuchel said. “It concerns Europe, it’s in Europe and we are part of Europe. We cannot say let’s put this to the side.
“There is no running away from it. There is no shutting the doors and now we focus on football. We are still privileged to live in peace and freedom right here where we are right now.