11 March 2022

Thomas Tuchel open to Chelsea having message of peace on shirts in place of sponsor’s name

11 March 2022

Thomas Tuchel would be open to Chelsea wearing a symbol of peace in place of regular shirt sponsor Three’s logo.

Mobile phone company Three has paused its Chelsea shirt sponsorship in the wake of Blues owner Roman Abramovich falling under UK government sanctions.

Abramovich’s UK assets are frozen except for Chelsea, with the Premier League club granted a special licence to continue operating, though under strict conditions.

Chelsea host Newcastle at Stamford Bridge on Sunday with Abramovich’s sale of the west London club still potentially possible – and Tuchel insisting there is never a bad time to spread a message of peace.

“We can always wear a message for peace and it can never be the wrong message,” said Tuchel.

“Maybe the worry is more to find enough shirts that we (can) play (in), with the sanctions! But as long as we have enough shirts, and as long as the bus is full of fuel, we will arrive and we will be competitive.

“This is what everybody can be sure of and this is what we demand of ourselves and when it’s a big storm, you dig in, you are all together and then you stay strong and go through it.

“But messages for peace can never be wrong.”

Chelsea’s long-term future remains in doubt off the back of Abramovich’s sanctions and stringent curbs in terms of spending and access for fans.

Messages for peace can never be wrong.

Season ticket holders can still attend matches at Stamford Bridge, but no new tickets could be sold on or beyond March 10.

Newcastle fans who had already purchased tickets will be able to attend Sunday’s Premier League clash, and refreshments can also be sold for a match that sees Eddie Howe’s resurgent Magpies look to continue their revival.

While Newcastle have flourished on the pitch, the club’s takeover by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) continues to draw heavy scrutiny.

All parties concerned with the new Magpies ownership insist the PIF sovereign wealth fund is entirely separate from the Saudi state.

Saudi crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman is also PIF’s chairman as well as the country’s ruler however, leading to continued outside concerns.

Chelsea’s shirt sponsors Three have suspended their deal with the club (Joe Giddens/PA) (PA Wire)

Abramovich’s UK sanctions surround the Russian-Israeli billionaire’s links to Vladimir Putin, that Boris Johnson’s government insists are now proven despite the Chelsea owner’s consistent staunch denials.

Asked if neutral fans will want neither team to win on Sunday, Tuchel replied: “Maybe, but I don’t care, I want us to win. I tell you it will be a difficult one because Newcastle is strong; very, very strong.

“It’s a different Newcastle and they produce a lot of results. So I’m expecting a very, very tough game.

“Sorry, but I don’t care so much what the neutral spectators think about who should win.

“I think in the end, everybody wants to be excited to watch games and want to be entertained and this is what we’re up to.

“In the moment we try to have the focus right and tried to have the attitude right and the guys do this in a very impressive way and we need it on Sunday.”

Chelsea shut out all the outside concerns about their future to dispatch Norwich 3-1 at Carrow Road on Thursday night, for their fourth Premier League win on the spin.

“It’s always the best way in a football team to carry on winning,” said Tuchel.

“Of course, also for us, it’s maybe in the moment a bit more difficult because of the noise. Some players will feel uncertainties, some will maybe be a bit frightened, some will be concerned, it’s normal.

“And it’s also not only about the players, we have a lot of people in the staff and in the club, who are maybe also worried and scared and uncertain so that’s why I can only repeat myself, that’s why it’s very important that we keep the trust and the belief in the training centre and all of us.

Chelsea’s players put the club’s off-field issues aside to beat Norwich on Thursday night (Joe Giddens/PA) (PA Wire)

“And we rely on ourselves and in the end allow ourselves (to accept) that we are the guys to take care about the sport because we did not cause the situation, we cannot solve the situation.

“So it can, I think, also give us a little bit of freedom in the end to still enjoy what we are doing and still follow the responsibility to give everything and what we demand of ourselves.

“This is what we do and I’m happy that we can still produce results and performances and we will be on it again to be ready for Sunday.”

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