Thomas Tuchel urged reporters to stop asking him questions about the invasion of Ukraine and Roman Abramovich's plan to pass the stewardship and care of Chelsea to the club's charitable foundation.
Chelsea’s manager was holding a press conference before Wednesday’s FA Cup tie at Luton Town and lost his cool after being pressed one too many times for his thoughts on the war in Ukraine.
Tuchel had faced several questions about Abramovich, who gave up the running of Chelsea after a call in parliament for him to face sanctions, and he snapped after being asked whether he hoped the club’s Russian owner could help to broker peace between Ukraine and Russia.
“Listen, listen, listen, you have to stop,” Tuchel said. “I am not a politician. You have to stop, honestly. I can only repeat it. And I even feel bad to repeat it because I never experienced war. So even to talk about it I feel bad because I am very privileged. I sit here in peace and I do the best I can, but you have to stop asking me these questions. I have no answers for you.”
Tuchel was asked whether he had a message for Chelsea’s fans after Abramovich’s decision to transfer the stewardship of the club to the foundation’s trustees, who are yet to agree to the arrangement. Some trustees have concerns and the Charity Commission has contacted the foundation for more information after a serious incident report was reported to the regulatory body.
“I am not so sure if I am the person who should give messages to the fans about anything other than sports,” Tuchel said. “We are trying to be calm here, I am calm and we are calm at the centre of a storm or some noise around us which we cannot control and are not responsible for. In the end, it is best to stay calm and focus on what we love and do. This is sports.
“I think we have a right to focus on sports, the players have a right to be focused and this is what we can tell the fans. I think this is what the fans saw on Sunday. There is a big situation out there and there was a big commitment still from the players, clubs and fans.
“I think everyone is aware of more important things and the situation is Ukraine is by far more important. We still arrived with two strong teams to play a fantastic match. We arrived still to entertain the fans with a match of maximum effort and entertainment. I don’t know what we could do different.”
Tuchel was reluctant to say whether being owned by Abramovich, who has vehemently disputed reports suggesting his alleged closeness to Vladimir Putin and Russia or that he has done anything to merit being sanctioned, is a problem for Chelsea.
“I have to say that’s a bit too much for me to answer,” the German said. “I’m not aware of any details, and I’m not aware of the whole situation. We all agree there are situations much, much more important than football, this will never change. And situations like war are of course so much more important. But the role from Mr Abramovich is not on me to comment, because I simply don’t know enough about it.” – Guardian