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Joyful Chelsea Boss Thomas Tuchel Focusing On Positives After Roman Abramovich Sanctions

Thomas Tuchel focused on the positives as he spoke to the media hours after Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich was hit by UK government sanctions.

Financial restrictions were imposed upon Abramovich and his UK assets after the government deemed that the 55-year-old had links to Russian president Vladimir Putin, who last month ordered his troops to invade Ukraine.

Those sanctions will have a significant impact on Chelsea FC and its proposed sale.

But Tuchel sounded upbeat as he spoke to BBC Sport ahead of Chelsea's Premier League game at Norwich on Thursday.

Tuchel said: "It's quite a big change from yesterday to today but yeah we can't influence it, we didn't cause the situation.

"In the moment it seems that business, let's say football-wise is more or less protected, but let's see.

"It can change tomorrow and then we need to see. It's not a relief, for me personally it's a joy, a joy all the time to arrive even in situations where noise or circumstances are so obvious even more so I feel privileged to have the chance to be involved in games, in coaching, in football, this is what I love."

Thomas Tuchel pictured at Chelsea's game at Norwich City in March 2022

Thomas Tuchel pictured at Chelsea's game at Norwich City

Abramovich had been in the process of trying to sell Chelsea.

Billionaires including Nick Candy, Hansjorg Wyss and Todd Boehly had all showed interest in buying the club. But their proposals have been put on hold because Abramovich is no longer permitted to profit from any of his UK assets.

As well as Chelsea's sale being put on hold, the way the club operates on a day-to-day basis will be significantly impacted by the sanctions imposed on Abramovich.

Ticket sales are no longer permitted, so only fans who have already purchased tickets will be able to attend matches at Stamford Bridge.

The club shop has also been closed as the sale of merchandise is no longer allowed.

Chelsea can not buy any players until further notice, or offer new contracts to their existing players.

Nadine Dorries, who is the UK's Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, explained the government's decision to sanction Abramovich earlier on Thursday. 

Dorries tweeted: "Putin's attack on Ukraine continues & we are witnessing new levels of evil by the hour.

"Today the Government has announced further sanctions against individuals linked to the Russian Government. This list includes Roman Abramovich, the owner of Chelsea Football Club.

"Our priority is to hold those who have enabled the Putin regime to account. Today’s sanctions obviously have a direct impact on Chelsea & its fans. We have been working hard to ensure the club & the national game are not unnecessarily harmed by these important sanctions.

"To ensure the club can continue to compete and operate we are issuing a special license that will allow fixtures to be fulfilled, staff to be paid and existing ticket holders to attend matches while, crucially, depriving Abramovich of benefiting from his ownership of the club.

"I know this brings some uncertainty, but the Government will work with the league & clubs to keep football being played while ensuring sanctions hit those intended. Football clubs are cultural assets and the bedrock of our communities. We're committed to protecting them."

Despite the uncertainty surrounding Chelsea as a club, on the field things look in good shape for the reigning world champions.

Chelsea won 3-1 at Norwich thanks to goals from Trevoh Chalobah, Mason Mount and Kai Havertz.

Tuchel spoke to BBC Sport again after the match and said: "Everybody can be very sure that we focus on us, to keep the attitude and the mentality right on the training ground and within the team.

"So far we can trust each other and this will not change. As long as we have enough shirts and a bus to drive to the games we will be there and will compete hard."