Thomas Tuchel said Chelsea fans picked the wrong time to show their support for Roman Abramovich after the Russian owner’s name was chanted during a show of solidarity with Ukraine ahead of their Premier League win at Burnley.
Premier League clubs showed their support for Ukraine on Saturday following Russia’s invasion of the country, but Chelsea fans chose the moment of applause before kick-off to pay tribute to Abramovich, who announced his decision to sell the club on Wednesday evening.
Speaking after a 4-0 victory, Tuchel expressed his discomfort at the actions of a section of Chelsea’s support and claimed it was not a reflection of his players or a club who pride themselves in showing respect.
Russian-billionaire Abramovich has bankrolled the Blues since his takeover in 2003, with his funding helping Chelsea to win 19 major trophies during his reign – and travelling supporters to Turf Moor on Saturday opted to sing his name ahead of kick-off as both sets of players observed a minute’s applause for Ukraine’s war victims.
Chelsea face the prospect of Abramovich being placed under sanctions by the UK Government, which is threatening to target Russian businesspeople following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Abramovich denies links with the Russian Government or President Vladimir Putin and denies doing anything that would warrant being sanctioned.
Asked whether the Chelsea owner could sell the club if he was sanctioned by the UK Government, Richard Masters, the Premier League chief executive said: “I don’t think that will work.”