Chelsea Boss Thomas Tuchel Lashes Out at Media Over War Questions

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It goes without saying that what’s going on in the Ukraine right now is way bigger than any competition in European football. Soccer is a game, not war, and the FA Cup is a matter of win or lose, not live or die. So it makes sense that Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel, just like you or I, will have opinions and something to say about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. That said, he’s a football coach, not a political leader or global affairs expert.

Thus, there is only so much he can really say about what’s going on in the world, as it’s not his job to discuss such things. So it’s easy to understand why he lashed out at reporters who kept pressing him about the war.

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Chelsea are owned by Roman Abramovich, a Russian oligarch with very close ties to President Vladimir Putin.

“How often do I need to say it? It’s horrible, of course, it’s horrible, there cannot be any other opinion about it,” an angry Tuchel said to his press conference ahead of Chelsea’s fifth round FA Cup tie against Luton Town tomorrow.

“Everybody in Europe has some noise in [their] head that nobody likes. Maybe it’s the same for you, but you still try to do your job as good as possible and it’s the same for us.”

The German then cut off another reporter who was trying to ask him another question about the horrors of war.

“Listen, you have to stop. I’m not a politician. You have to stop, honestly,” Tuchel interrupted.

“I can only repeat [myself] and I even feel bad to repeat it because I never experienced war… I’m 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.”

You got to feel Tuchel, at least somewhat, as this is certainly not his lane and he definitely doesn’t have the answers. The British Parliament heard arguments last week calling for Abramovich’s assets to be seized, and that includes the club.

Over the weekend, Abramovich released a statement surrendering “care” and “stewardship” of the club to the Chelsea charitable trust.

Now there are reports indicating that Abramovich may actually consider selling the club. Offers are supposedly coming in already.

roman-abramovich

Asked if he was worried about the club’s future, amidst this unprecedented backdrop, Tuchel responded:

“We try to be calm, and we are calm in the centre of a storm or of some noise around us that we cannot control and we are not responsible for it.

“In the end it’s best to focus on what we love and what we do, and this is sports. And I think we have the right to focus on sports, the players have the right to focus [on it].

“This is what we can do for the fans — to distract them, to entertain them and do what we do with a maximum effort and a maximum commitment.”

Paul M. Banks is the owner/manager of The Bank (TheSportsBank.Net) and author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” as well as “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”

He has regularly appeared in WGNSports Illustrated and the Chicago Tribune, and co-hosts the After Extra Time podcastFollow him on Twitter and Instagram

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