Wednesday, February 28News That Matters

Tuchel criticises Chelsea fans over Abramovich chants during Ukraine applause

Thomas Tuchel has slammed Chelsea’s fans for chanting the name of owner Roman Abramovich in the middle of a minute’s applause for victims of the war in Ukraine before the 4-0 win over Burnley.

Premier League teams are making a show of solidarity with Ukraine in this weekend’s games after Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of the country, with a moment of ‘reflection and solidarity’ taking place before kick-off.

But as the home supporters stood up for a minute’s applause at Turf Moor before Burnley’s game with Chelsea, the clapping was suddenly drowned out by Chelsea fans chanting the name of Abramovich.

The Russian billionaire could face sanctions due to his alleged links to the Russian state – which he has denied – and he announced on Wednesday that he was looking to sell the club he has owned since 2003.

Chelsea’s fans were widely condemned over the chanting, which was clearly in poor taste, while the home fans responded with a chorus of boss as the moment of reflection was sullied.

Now Tuchel has joined the condemnation and says Chelsea’s fans picked an inappropriate moment to show their appreciation for Abramovich and hopes they will join in with any show of solidarity with Ukraine in the future.

Asked about the Abramovich chants during the applause for Ukraine, Tuchel replied: ‘It’s not the moment to do this. ‘Listen, if we show solidarity we show solidarity and we should do it together.

‘We take the knee together and if an important person from our club or another club unfortunately dies, we show a minute of respect. It’s not the moment to give other messages. It’s the moment to show respect.

‘We do this because this is what we are also as a club. We show respect as a club and we need our fans to commit to this minute of applause.

‘At this moment, we do it for Ukraine and there is no second opinion about the situation there. They have our thoughts and our support.

‘We should stand together as a club. It’s not the moment for other messages.’

Chelsea looked a lethargic and passive in the first half of Saturday’s win, but came out after the restart with fresh vigour and intent as goals from Reece James, Pulisic and a Kai Havertz brace secured a 4-0 victory.

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