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Roman Abramovich sends message to Chelsea fans over failed Super League plan

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Roman Abramovich and Chelsea’s hierarchy admit they ‘deeply regret’ agreeing to join the European Super League.

Chelsea were one of the 12 founding clubs of the breakaway league which was announced last Sunday.

But by Tuesday evening, all six Premier League clubs had pulled their support for the Super League proposal following a widespread backlash from fans and several key figures in football.

In an open letter sent to supporters, Chelsea owner Abramovich admits the club had ‘concerns’ over the format of the Super League and concedes that supporters should have been consulted over the plans to move away from the current UEFA competitions.

The letter read: ‘The Owner and Board of Chelsea Football Club would like to address Chelsea supporters about the events which have taken place over the past few days. We have taken time since withdrawing from the ESL to speak directly to various supporter groups and listen to their views and concerns.

‘Our ambition with Chelsea Football Club has always been to make it the best club in the world, both on the pitch and in how we work with, and give back to the community off it.

‘The joint decision to join the ESL was driven by this same ambition. When it became clear that a new league might be formed, we did not want Chelsea FC to miss out on the opportunity to play in such a potentially prominent league, nor did we want to risk the Club falling behind our closest English and European rivals in competitive terms.

‘As a Club, we are committed to an open and regular dialogue with our fans and other stakeholders, but, on this occasion, regrettably, due to time constraints and confidentiality restraints, this was not achieved.

‘As concerns were raised following the announcement, the Club took a step back to listen and speak to supporters. Following those conversations and taking into account the extremely strong views against the proposal, we reassessed our initial decision and decided we did not want to be part of this league.

‘We also recognise the sentiment that had been expressed about whether the ESL relied strongly enough on sporting merit. This is something we had strong concerns about from the start and were confident would have been addressed during a further consultation process with various stakeholders, along with other concepts in the proposal about which we had reservations. We firmly believe that we must protect a structure which allows all clubs, players and supporters to dream of, and achieve, success.

‘We recognise we should have addressed these issues in advance of joining the group. The Owner and Board understand that involving the Club in such a proposal was a decision we should not have taken. It is a decision we deeply regret.

‘Another important factor in the decision to withdraw was the potential damage to the Club’s reputation and work on good causes. So much effort has gone into community work off the pitch over the last 17 years, and there was a risk that all of the Club’s efforts directed by the Owner on fighting racism, antisemitism, homophobia and other discriminatory behaviours would be lost. We could not afford to jeopardise the significant advances we have made in these areas, nor the vital and ongoing work of the Chelsea Foundation in other areas of our communities.

‘The Club always tries to be open and transparent with its supporters, and we remain committed to this in the future and will take actions to rebuild the trust of the supporters that we have enjoyed to this point. As such, the Club renews its commitment to listen to and engage with its supporters far better in future. The Board will lead consultations with supporter groups and other stakeholders on new mechanisms or structures that develop and safeguard fan representation in the Club’s work.

‘The Club does ask, however, that this dialogue is conducted in a respectful way. The abuse which some club representatives have been the target of over the past few days is not acceptable. Antisemitism, sexism, racism and threats of violence have no place in our community nor in this discussion. We hope that you will help us make sure that a respectful tone remains, even when we disagree.

‘Chelsea has a very rich history, and we know we are very fortunate to play a part in that. The Club was here before us, and will be here long after us. Our job is to ensure we are as successful as we can be today, as well as build for the future.

‘The Owner and Board thank you for your continued support for the Club.’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Latest Chelsea News

Just In: UEFA Changed Champions League Final Venue, See New Venue & Date

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The Champions League final between Chelsea and Manchester City will be moved to Porto’s Estadio do Dragao from Istanbul, UEFA is set to announce.

UEFA had wanted to move the final to Wembley and was in talks with the UK government, but there was a considerable sticking point over waiving quarantine rules for the 2,000 staff, sponsors, VIPs and foreign media.

The fixture was due to take place at the Ataturk Stadium on May 29, but pressure mounted for the venue to be changed after the UK government placed Turkey on its ‘red’ list of at-risk countries and urged fans not to travel for the fixture. UK citizens returning from red-list countries are required to quarantine at a government-approved hotel for 10 days.

The capacity at the Estadio do Dragao is 50,000 and UEFA is in talks with the Portuguese government to allow 20,000 to attend the final. That would mean up to 6,000 tickets for fans of each club.

Fans have not been allowed to attend games in Portugal this season but the Portuguese league announced on Wednesday that they would be able to watch the final round of league games next Wednesday with stadium capacities capped at 10 per cent.

Portugal is on the government green list so UK visitors will be able to travel there from Sunday. They will not need to quarantine but they will have to take Covid-19 tests before and after they travel.

It would have been cheaper and easier for UEFA to host the game at Wembley – which already has the infrastructure set up to be a UEFA European Championship venue next month – but the governing body felt it could not do so without the guarantee of government waivers.

As far as UEFA is concerned, fans would not be able to attend at all if the final had remained in Istanbul so it believes it has tried to do the best in difficult circumstances.

As far as Chelsea and City supporters are concerned, the final should be at Wembley.

This will be the third final in Portugal in eight years but the first in Porto.

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It is on me’ – Thomas Tuchel admits he made too many mistakes to his Chelsea side against Arsenal

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Thomas Tuchel has admitted making too many changes to his Chelsea side cost them the game against Arsenal.

 

The Blues fell to a disappointing 1-0 defeat at home to Arsenal on Wednesday night with Emile Smith Rowe scoring the game’s only goal.

 

Tuchel made seven changes to the side that beat Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium at the weekend with one eye firmly on Saturday’s FA Cup final against Leicester City.

 

Speaking after the defeat, Tuchel conceded he had made a mistake in making so many changes – also suggesting he had fears over certain players coming into the match after recent training sessions.

 

Tuchel told Sky Sports: ‘We could not put up the same intensity and energy as usual.

 

‘It is on me, I think it was too many changes from the last match and I take full responsibility for that and maybe it is the last wake up call for all of us.’

 

He added: ‘I felt it coming a little bit yesterday in training and I’m a bit unlucky that it has proven today on the pitch.

I regret that, but it’s like this. It’s ‘we could have, we could have, we could have’, but we didn’t and that’s what it’s all about.’

 

Defeat drags Chelsea firmly back into a battle for a top four finish.

 

Following their FA Cup meeting with Leicester, they head to the King Power Stadium for their penultimate league match of the season next Tuesday.

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Video Highlights, Full Match Analysis: Chelsea 0 – 1 Arsenal

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Emile Smith Rowe denied Chelsea the chance to cement their top-four status as he took advantage of Jorginho’s howler to give Arsenal a 1-0 win at Stamford Bridge.

The Blues would have all but secured their Champions League qualification with a victory which would have taken them 10 points clear of Liverpool, who have four games left to play, but after making seven changes ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup final, struggled to create clear-cut chances.

Kai Havertz should have put them ahead 10 minutes in when he intercepted Gabriel’s loose pass for Pablo Mari and raced clean through, but then fired over Bernd Leno’s bar with only his compatriot to beat. Moments later Jorginho’s equally poor back-pass was kept out by Kepa Arrizabalaga at full stretch, but Smith Rowe was on hand to bundle home after being teed up by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Chelsea were dominant for the large majority of the remaining 75 minutes without forcing Leno into any uncomfortable saves until the final minute. They did beat him through Pulisic’s close-range header from a corner, which was swiftly denied by a VAR review, before the German produced a stunning stop to tip Kurt Zouma’s header onto the crossbar, which was then rattled by Olivier Giroud’s shot on the rebound.

Player Ratings

Chelsea: Kepa (6), James (6), Azpilicueta (6), Silva (6), Zouma (6), Chilwell (5), Jorginho (4), Gilmour (5), Pulisic (5), Mount (6), Havertz (5).

Subs: Hudson-Odoi (6), Giroud (6), Ziyech (5).

Arsenal: Leno (7), Gabriel (6), Mari (7), Holding (6), Tierney (7), Partey (6), Elneny (8), Saka (5), Odegaard (6), Smith Rowe (7), Aubameyang (5).

Subs: Bellerin (6), Lacazette (5), Chambers (6).

Man of the match: Mohamed Elneny

What the managers said…

Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel told Sky Sports: “We had three days, we are on a good run, we had a good mood. The choices were not so good today from my side for the line-up so that’s on me. We were unlucky, of course. But we did everything today to lose.

“I’m not happy with my line-up. It’s easy to say afterwards. But it was too many changes, I should not have done it like this. It’s something in particular – but I will not tell you!”

 

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta told Sky Sports: “I don’t know how they’re going to try from the outside but from the inside, nothing is broken.

“They’re going to put things on me that I never said, you can see the spirit of the team from the first minute. You can never doubt their efforts and how much they try.”

Match stats

  1. Arsenal completed their first Premier League double over Chelsea since the 2003-04 season, while this was their first league win at Stamford Bridge since October 2011, ending an eight-game winless run there (D2 L6).
  2. Chelsea suffered only their third defeat in 26 matches in all competitions under Thomas Tuchel (W17 D6), with all three defeats coming at Stamford Bridge.
  3. Arsenal have won three consecutive away Premier League matches without conceding for the first time since May 2013 under Arsène Wenger.
  4. Arsenal have had a different player aged younger than 21 score in each of their last three Premier League matches against Chelsea – Gabriel Martinelli in January 2020, Bukayo Saka in December 2020 and Emile Smith Rowe tonight.

What’s next?

Chelsea are off to Wembley in the FA Cup final on Saturday, where they will face Leicester City; Kick-off at 5.15pm.

Arsenal’s penultimate game of the season is also in London, with a trip to Crystal Palace next Wednesday night; Kick-off at 7pm.

📽️ Watch The Video Highlights:

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