Tuchel vows 'as long as there's a team bus' Chelsea will play amid claims club is set to go bust

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Chelsea bosses remain defiant following government sanctions against its Russian-Israeli billionaire owner Roman Abramovich that have led to speculation the club could go bust "in weeks".

Thomas Tuchel vowed it would be business as usual "as long as we have enough shirts and a team bus to get to games" while Chelsea Women head coach Emma Hayes said the club was "working with the government" over the strict sanctions placed on them.

The club remains in limbo in an unprecedented scenario that means they are unable to make any money, are losing sponsorship deals and its owner is now unable to sell the club.

Speaking after Thursday's 3-1 win over Norwich City at Carrow Road on Thursday, Tuchel told BBC Radio 5 Live: "We take it day by day. I didn't see that coming yesterday and I don't know what is coming tomorrow."

“There’s no denying it’s a difficult day, but I think it’s important that we give it time," Chelsea Women head coach Emma Hayes told Sky Sports News.

“The club’s put a statement out. I understand the club is working with the government to dissect the interpretation of that, so I think for all the questions everybody has, players, fans, staff, we have to give the club time to work through that.”

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel during the Premier League match at Carrow Road, Norwich, on Thursday Credit: PA

Chelsea is seeking a special dispensation, The Daily Mail reports, which would mean the government agrees a change of ownership in the best interests of the club "provided it does not benefit Abramovich".

If the government agrees, it would control the sale and either donate the proceeds to charity or freeze them.

Abramovich can give away for nothing the club he was planning to sell for £3 billion to secure its future, or wait it out while Chelsea loses around £28 million a month on players' wages alone, according to finance expert Kieran Maguire.

Digital and Technology Minister Chris Philp suggested that the government would take over the sale, saying on Friday that potential buyers could approach Downing Street.

“As the licence conditions are written today, the sale would not be allowed,” Philp told Sky News. “However, if a buyer emerged it would be open to that buyer or to that football club to approach the government and ask for the conditions to be varied in a way that allows that sale to take place.

“To be clear, no proposal would be accepted which saw the proceeds from any sale ending in an unrestricted bank account owned by Abramovich," Philp added. "He can’t benefit from the proceeds of any sale.”

The special license the club has been given to continue football-related activities runs out on May 31. The race to to find a new owner has publicly garnered interest from property billionaire David Candy and Turkish businessman Muhsin Bayrak.

Chelsea supporters during the Premier League match at Carrow Road, Norwich, on Thursday Credit: PA

While Chelsea’s shirt sponsor Three announced the suspension of its partnership with the Blues, travel company Trivago said on Friday it will continue to support the club “in the transition to new ownership”.

“The uncertainty over the current ownership situation of Chelsea FC has been challenging," a Trivago statement said.

“Moving forward, it is important to us to continue supporting the club, the fans and community along with the essential work that the Chelsea Foundation does to help those in need."

  • 'It's important innocent fans aren't punished' - tap below to watch Sadiq Khan telling ITV News London his thoughts on the government sanctions

Trivago said it condoned "the unprovoked and catastrophic invasion of Ukraine."

Meanwhile, Downing Street has reminded Chelsea fans of the allegation that Abramovich has supported the Putin regime after supporters chanted the club owner’s name.

A spokesman for the Prime Minister said: “We understand the strength of feelings that Chelsea fans will have and the passion for their club, but it’s important to remember that these sanctions are being imposed on those who have provided support to the Putin regime and the brutal assault on Ukraine.”

Earlier on Friday, technology minister Chris Philp appealed to the west London club's fans.

"I just say respectfully to the Chelsea fans, I know he's done a lot for the club, but the humanitarian situation in Ukraine and what the Russian regime are doing to civilians - shelling maternity hospitals and shooting civilians who are fleeing down humanitarian corridors - and that is more important than football."