Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel says he will personally drive his squad to France for the Champions League clash against Lille if necessary.
The Blues will travel to Lille to face the Ligue 1 side in the second leg of their Round of 16 tie on Wednesday, which the London club lead 2-0 on aggregate.
Sanctions imposed by the UK government on Russian owner Roman Abramovich have limited how much money the club can spend, including travel to away matches. Chelsea is seen as one of Abramovich’s assets, which have all been frozen.
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Chelsea is only able to operate on a skeleton budget and is not allowed to earn income under the current sanctions, which has seen the club’s operations thrown upside down.
What did Tuchel say about Chelsea’s travel plans?
Tuchel insists the club’s travel plans have not been disrupted, but says he would drive the team to France in a seven-seater if they could not fly over.
Asked if there have been any changes, Tuchel said, “No, my last information is that we have a plane, that we can go by plane and come back by plane.
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“If not we go by train, if not we go by bus – if not, I drive a seven-seater! And I will do. Mark my words I will do; I will arrive there. If you’d asked me 20 or 30 years ago if I would join a Champions League match at the sideline and what I was willing to do I would have said okay, when do I have to be where.
“If not I drive a seven-seater!” 😂
Tuchel at the wheel! pic.twitter.com/Bql7o9E3pF
— Chelsea FC News (@Chelsea_FL) March 13, 2022
“And why should this change. I will be there, we will be there. Of course organization-wise there are some negotiations going on and some talks, but it does not influence me.”
Tuchel praised the operations team at Chelsea for working around the sanctions and keeping the club moving despite the uncertain times at Stamford Bridge. “We have brilliant guys who organize the travel, and in every department we have such committed people that for the moment things feel normal.”
The coach was asked if he can drive on the left side of the road, to which he replied: “That is a very good question! And then we would have to change to the right [in France]. At some point, we need to have trust in the coach.”
Why has Abramovich been sanctioned?
Abramovich’s assets were frozen last week due to his ties to Russia President Vladimir Putin.
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The nation’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine has sparked action against Russian oligarchs in countries across the world.
Abramovich, who outlined a plan to pass on stewardship of Chelsea to trustees last month, has been disqualified as a director by the Premier League.
Chelsea is still able to fulfill its remaining fixtures for the season as they have been given a “special license”, while the sale of the club could still go ahead as the deadline for bids was extended to March 18. A sale appears the best way out from under the sanctions for Chelsea, as cutting ties with Abramovich as soon as possible would remove his influence from the club and alleviate the government action.