Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp sympathises with Chelsea supporters, but agrees with the United Kingdom government’s decision to sanction Roman Abramovich.
Long-time Chelsea owner Abramovich was one of seven Russian oligarchs to have his assets frozen on Thursday due to the country’s invasion of Ukraine.
Abramovich, whose net worth is reported to be in the region of £9.4billion, has previously been photographed with Russian president Vladimir Putin.
Chelsea have been granted a special sporting licence to continue trading – and indeed playing – as a football club, but other hard-hitting sanctions have been put in place.
They include a ban on selling tickets, with only season-ticket holders permitted to attend matches, while the Blues cannot buy or sell players, or offer new contracts.
That leaves Chelsea facing an uncertain future, but Klopp insists the decision taken by authorities is the correct one given the ongoing events in Ukraine.
“Thomas [Tuchel] and I know each other well, but we are not that close to talk about what’s been said,” Klopp said at a pre-match news conference on Friday.
“We talk about games, yes, but not other moments. Of course, for him, the players and the employers at Chelsea, it’s not a situation they are responsible for.
“One man is responsible for that and it’s Vladimir Putin. I don’t know about Roman Abramovich’s role and all these kind of things.
“But over the years you could guess he’s pretty close. I think what the British government did is right, to be 100 per cent honest.
“It’s still not cool for the people of Chelsea or the supporters, I get that. But I think the things the government did are right.”
Among other major knock-on effects for Chelsea, shirt sponsor Three has asked the club to remove its logos from team shirts and from the club’s Stamford Bridge stadium.
It was business as usual for the west London side on Thursday as they saw off bottom club Norwich City 3-1 to consolidate third place in the Premier League.
Speaking after the match, Mason Mount admitted he and his team-mates cannot simply ignore off-the-field events.
“You can’t really avoid it, as there’s a lot going on,” Mount told BBC Sport. “We have to focus on what we do on the pitch.
“We had a game today and that was the only thing we could focus on. We did that today, so now it’s about Sunday. You try not to look too much into it.”
Chelsea host Newcastle United on Sunday in their first game at Stamford Bridge since these developments.