Thomas Tuchel said he understands the criticism leveled at Chelsea in response to the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine.
After Russian troops crossed the border into Ukraine on Tuesday, Labor MP Chris Bryant told the House of Commons that Chelsea owner and Russian-Israeli billionaire Roman Abramovich should have his assets seized, wondering if he was asked should allow a football club to operate and cited a leaked government document suggesting it should not be allowed to be based in the UK.
Ahead of Sunday’s Carabao Cup final against Liverpool, Tuchel told reporters that the situation in Ukraine and the possible fallout “clouded” his team’s thoughts and defended his desire to focus on football as it intensified. the conflict.
He said: “We must not pretend that it is not a problem. The situation for everyone here is horrible. Nobody expected it, it is quite unreal. It clouds our minds and our excitement for the end. This brings enormous uncertainty, much more so for anyone in this moment more involved than us. We send you our best wishes and regards, of course.
“There is still so much uncertainty around the situation of our club, in the UK with scenarios like this, that it doesn’t make sense if I comment on it. We’re aware of that, we don’t have as much insight or inside information as you might think, and in the end I think it’s also the right of the team and staff not to be political, to focus on sports. Not because we are hiding, but the situation is clear, it is horrible, there is no doubt.
“I would like to exercise my right not to comment until a decision is made. It distracts us, it worries us, to a certain extent, I can understand it, I can understand the critical opinions towards the club and us who cannot completely get rid of that.
“But maybe people can understand me as a coach and the players as players, we don’t know what’s going on and how involved the owner is in all of this, we don’t feel responsible for what’s going on, it’s horrible.” and there is no doubt that war in Europe is unthinkable to me for a long time.
Latest developments as the sport reacts to the situation in Ukraine
- UEFA moved the Champions League final from Saint Petersburg to Paris
- Europe’s governing body is also under pressure to end sponsorship of Russian energy giant Gazprom.
- Manchester United stopped sponsoring the Russian airline Aeroflot
- Players will be free to protest the war in Ukraine without fear of punishment, as long as the posts are not offensive.
- FIFA remains undecided on World Cup play-offs involving Ukraine and Russia
- F1 has announced that the Russian Grand Prix will be canceled
- The Haas team joined F1 testing on Friday with its cars without Russian sponsor Uralkali’s logo.
“Hopefully, the impact is clear and the discussions are having an impact, but let’s be a little more patient and understand what the measures will be and maybe we’ll address it. »
Chelsea will be seeking a third trophy this season against Liverpool at Wembley on Sunday, following their UEFA Super Cup and Club World Cup wins last month.
While admitting such a huge distraction was not ideal for his players’ preparation, Tuchel said the idea of putting the conflict in Eastern Europe at the back of their minds was not a realistic option for the team.
He added: “The situation is too big [to shut out]. It is not an isolated situation, it is about Europe, we are part of Europe, we cannot say that we leave that aside. It’s just the opposite, you have to live with it now, there’s no way out.
“We are privileged to live in peace and freedom where we are now, and to have a football match in an emotional but peaceful environment with fans in the stadium. It’s a straight reality check of how privileged we are, I don’t think it’s going to go away, my mind is cloudy and I don’t think it’s going to go away for anyone, because it’s too big. »
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