Antonio Conte has expressed sympathy over the situation at his former club Chelsea after owner Roman Abramovich was sanctioned by the UK government.
Abramovich, who has previously been photographed with Russian president Vladimir Putin, had his assets frozen on Thursday, with the decision made in the wake of Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
Chelsea have been granted a special sporting licence to be able to continue trading as a football club, but measures have been placed upon them, including a ban on selling tickets, with only season-ticket holders permitted to attend matches.
Tottenham manager Conte spent two seasons at Stamford Bridge between 2016 and 2018, winning the Premier League in his first year and the FA Cup in his second term, before being sacked at the end of the 2017-18 campaign.
Speaking at a media conference ahead of Spurs’ trip to Manchester United at the weekend, the Italian said the situation is a “pity” for the players, the manager and the fans.
“Honestly, I have just listened to this situation,” he said. “It’s not easy. It’s not easy.
“It’s a pity also because I was coach in this club, in Chelsea. I enjoyed two seasons [there]. Also, I won two titles. It’s a pity to listen to this situation.
“It’s not simple for the players, it’s not simple for [head coach] Thomas Tuchel, for the fans, for the whole environment.
“Honestly, I hope that in general that this situation between Russia and Ukraine is going to finish and to find peace, because it’s much too important.
“Other situations that are coming from this conflict, I think that it’s not right. I hope for the best, for this club, because I worked in this club, I enjoyed the two seasons.
“For sure, I love the team, the club that I worked in the past. Every team that I worked in the past, I hope for the best for them.”
The Premier League confirmed on Thursday that Chelsea’s game against Norwich City on Thursday evening would go ahead as planned, while the club pledged to work with the UK government to ensure business as usual where possible