Chelsea supporters were heard chanting in support of club owner Roman Abramovich during a pre-match applause for Ukraine ahead of their Premier League clash with Burnley.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has led to calls for Abramovich – and other Russian individuals and entities – to face sanctions from the British government, with the 55-year-old Russian oligarch having been photographed with president Vladimir Putin in the past.
Although a spokesperson for the Blues owner claimed this week that Abramovich was “trying to help” achieve a peaceful resolution to the conflict, the billionaire later announced he had taken the “incredibly difficult” decision to sell the club, which he has owned since 2003.
A minutes’ applause was held prior to all Premier League fixtures on Saturday as English football showed its support for the Ukrainian people amid the ongoing attack on the country, but Abramovich’s name was clearly audible in chants, which continued into the early minutes of the match.
The chants were met with boos from home supporters.
Abramovich’s choice to make the club available to buyers was considered “the right decision” by Premier League chief executive Richard Masters, who also said on Thursday that Abramovich’s ownership of the club had become “unsustainable” in light of recent developments.
Blues coach Thomas Tuchel, meanwhile, called the club a “great place to be” ahead of the trip to Burnley, saying he hoped for a “positive” resolution to the “uncertainty” now surrounding Stamford Bridge.
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