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Guardiola voices sympathy for Chelsea’s Tuchel after sanctions


London (AFP) – Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola admits he has sympathy for Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel after the European champions were hit by tough sanctions placed on Blues owner Roman Abramovich.

The Russian billionaire was one of seven oligarchs targeted Thursday by the UK government following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, all described as part of President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle.

Abramovich last week announced he was selling the club but now his UK assets have been frozen, with strict restrictions placed on Chelsea, including over the signing of new players and ticket sales.

Tuchel, as the face of Chelsea, has found himself in the position of de facto club spokesman on the Abramovich situation in recent weeks.

Guardiola, speaking to the reporters, conceded it was an awkward situation for a football manager to deal with.

“When there was Covid we were asked to talk like doctors on the medicine, the vaccines,” he said. “It looks like when we speak here we have to know absolutely everything.

“We are the face of the club, we are right here every three days, so you ask whatever you want, but you have to understand that there are subjects we don’t know, and we don’t have a one-hour lesson to speak or talk about what you are asking for.

“It’s uncomfortable and I feel sorry for them because they are there to do the jobs as well as possible.”

The sanctions cast uncertainty over the immediate future of Chelsea, who had been linked with a series of potential new billionaire owners over the past week.

Asked about the implications of a Premier League rival being so dramatically hampered, Guardiola would only say: “I don’t have enough opinions, sorry. I saw the headlines but I don’t know exactly the reason why what happened.

“The reason why there is this ban? I don’t know the reason why. For something wrong with the club? For the war in Ukraine? Europe? Russia? I don’t know.”

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