Tuchel says no excuses from Chelsea despite sanctions

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  • Post published:March 16, 2022

Thomas Tuchel says Chelsea will not make “excuses” despite severe restrictions placed on the club as a result of UK sanctions targeting Russian owner Roman Abramovich.

The Premier League club are operating under a special licence after the British government last week froze the assets of Abramovich as part of a set of punitive measures following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The licence is designed to prevent Chelsea and by extension oligarch Abramovich – described by the government as part of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle – from generating new revenue.

Chelsea are banned from selling tickets and cannot spend more than £20,000 ($26,000) per match on travel costs, though the Blues are urgently lobbying ministers for a much-needed hike.

The European champions travel to face French side Lille in the last 16 of the Champions League on Wednesday, well placed to reach the quarter-finals after a 2-0 win in the first leg.

German boss Tuchel admitted Chelsea had been forced to make adjustments.

“There are restrictions and we have to deal with it,” he said at his pre-match media conference on Tuesday. “There are adjustments in our amount of staff who are travelling, how many rooms we have in hotels, how we arrive at matches.

“To my understanding everything is in place now. We can arrive on a professional level because this is not about luxury, this is not about bling-bling.”

He added: “We have a framework to go to Lille and play the game in Lille where there will absolutely be no excuses regarding this kind of organisation.

“It is already a bit more difficult to arrange things in a professional way, in the best way possible for the FA Cup [on Saturday] but we will deal with it.

“As long as we have shirts, as long as we are ‘alive’, as long as we are a team and we arrive with our players we will be competitive and we will fight hard for our success because we owe it to the people who support us.”

Chelsea on Tuesday withdrew a request made hours earlier for Saturday’s FA Cup quarter-final at Middlesbrough to be played behind closed doors in the interests of fairness after they were blocked from making new ticket sales for the match at the Riverside Stadium.

Championship side Middlesbrough had responded angrily, saying the request was “bizarre and without any merit whatsoever”.

The Football Association later confirmed the match would take place in front of supporters as planned.

“After constructive talks between the FA and Chelsea, the club has agreed to remove their request for the Emirates FA Cup quarter-final tie against Middlesbrough to be played behind closed doors,” a spokesman tweeted.

“The FA remains in ongoing discussions with Chelsea, the Premier League and the government to find a solution that would enable both Chelsea fans to attend games and away fans to attend Stamford Bridge, whilst ensuring sanctions are respected.”