During Saturday’s round of league fixtures across Europe, the footballing world continued to show its support for Ukraine as the Russian occupation of the frontiers continues. In the Premier League, there were banners and other forms of visual media from fans and clubs at the King Power, Molineux and Carrow Road before their respective games kicked off.
At Turf Moor, where Burnley were hosting Chelsea, there was to be a minute’s applause for the people of Ukraine before kick-off. As the home crowd were applauding for victims in Ukraine, a few Chelsea fans at the away end had another idea. Multiple sources have confirmed that some Chelsea fans were singing out the name of their former Russian owner, Roman Abramovich, name during this one minute.
Chelsea Fans chant ‘ROMAN ABRAMOVICH’ name during minute applause for Ukraine. 🎶🎶 pic.twitter.com/RQ0WzX6BO1— Mwas Mchelsea (@MwasMchelsea__) March 5, 2022
This backing from supporters comes after the Russian oligarch released a statement where he announced that he would be selling the club in the aftermath of the sanctions imposed against him by the British govt. due to his links with President Putin in the past.
However, this action from the fans have been met with backlash from the footballing community for having diverted attention from the important message to Ukraine.
Following the end of a comfortable 4-0 win against Burnley, Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel took criticized the fans for the Abramovich chant, in his press conference.
“It’s not the moment to do this. Listen, if we show solidarity, we show solidarity and do it together. 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.”
"It was not the moment to do this."— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) March 5, 2022
Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has reacted to Chelsea fans singing Roman Abramovich's name during Ukraine applause. pic.twitter.com/6uXhM5dNQp
Football pundits in Gary Neville and Gary Lineker commended Thomas Tuchel for his no-nonsense stance on the chanting. The former United defender quote tweeted: “He’s a good bloke Tuchel” as the former Leicester City player wrote: “Absolutely”.