Chelsea fans disrupt moment of solidarity for Ukraine with Roman Abramovich chants

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Chelsea fans disrupted a moment of solidarity in support of Ukraine on Saturday when they began cheering the name of Russian owner Roman Abramovich who announced the sale of the club this week amid the backlash over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

Videos posted to social media appeared to show fans chanting “Roman Abramovich” during the planned one-minute applause in support of Ukraine before the match between Chelsea and Burnley.

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The loud chants were met with even louder boos from those who scolded the interruption. 

Premier League issued a statement on Wednesday condemning Russia’s attacks on Ukraine and announced measures the league would take to show its support of Ukraine during this weekend’s matches. 

“The Premier League and our clubs wholeheartedly reject Russia’s actions and will be showing support for the people of Ukraine at all matches this weekend,” the league said in a statement Wednesday. “We call for peace, and our thoughts are with all those who have been impacted.

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Both teams stand for a minute of applause in support of Ukraine  before the Premier League match between Burnley and Chelsea at Turf Moor on March 5, 2022 in Burnley, United Kingdom. 

Both teams stand for a minute of applause in support of Ukraine  before the Premier League match between Burnley and Chelsea at Turf Moor on March 5, 2022 in Burnley, United Kingdom. 
(Photo by Daniel Chesterton/Offside/Offside via Getty Images)

According to the statement, club captains for the 20 teams set to play will wear special armbands in Ukraine’s colors. There will also be a moment of “reflection and solidarity” before kickoff, and large video screens at each stadium will say “Football Stands Together” over the colors of Ukraine’s flag. 

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel slammed the act by fans after the 4-0 win, saying it was a moment “to show respect” and not for “other messages.” 

Chelsea Manager Thomas Tuchel during the Premier League match between Burnley and Chelsea at Turf Moor on March 5, 2022 in Burnley, United Kingdom. 

Chelsea Manager Thomas Tuchel during the Premier League match between Burnley and Chelsea at Turf Moor on March 5, 2022 in Burnley, United Kingdom. 
(Photo by Daniel Chesterton/Offside/Offside via Getty Images)

“It’s not the moment to do this. If we show solidarity we show solidarity and we should do it together,” he said, via AFP. “It is not the moment to give other messages. It’s the moment to show respect. We want to do this. As a club we need our fans to commit to this minute of applause.”

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Players support Ukraine before the kick off during the Premier League match between Burnley and Chelsea at Turf Moor on March 5, 2022 in Burnley, United Kingdom.

Players support Ukraine before the kick off during the Premier League match between Burnley and Chelsea at Turf Moor on March 5, 2022 in Burnley, United Kingdom.
(Photo by Dave Howarth – CameraSport via Getty Images)

He continued: “We do it for Ukraine and there is no second opinion about this situation. They have our thoughts and our support and we should stand together. It’s not the moment for other messages.”

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