Chelsea fans chanted the name of their Russian owner Roman Abramovich during a minute’s applause in solidarity with Ukraine before their Premier League game at Burnley on Saturday.
There have been gestures of support for Ukraine before kick-off at Premier League games, and Burnley’s Turf Moor ground featured the slogan “Football Stands Together” and the Ukrainian flag on a large screen.
Abramovich announced on Wednesday that he was putting the club up for sale amid growing calls in Britain for him to face sanctions following Russia’s invasion of its neighbour.
While fans around the stadium, including the visiting Chelsea supporters, stood and applauded as the players stood for a minute before kick-off, Chelsea fans began chanting their owners’ name, with Burnley fans booing in response.
After his side’s 4-0 win, Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel was asked about the pre-match chants.
“It’s not the moment to do this. Listen, if we show solidarity we show solidarity and we should do it together,” Tuchel said.
“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.”
Abramovich took over Chelsea in 2003, and his ownership has seen the most successful years the club has enjoyed.
The Russian has told his aides to set up a charitable foundation to benefit “all victims of the war in Ukraine” which would receive all net proceeds from the sale.
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