Antonio Conte has termed the bans being imposed on Russian teams and athletes on the back of the invasion of Ukraine as ‘unfair’.
Several countries have imposed economic sanctions on Russia as well as on businesses owned by those with ties to the Russian government, like Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich.
Abramovich’s assets being frozen means that Chelsea have been hit with a temporary transfer ban, barred from receiving any revenue from merchandising sales, and their fans will not be allowed to buy tickets for away matches (Goal.com).
In addition, the International Olympic Committee has called on sports federations to exclude Russian and Belarusian athletes, officials and teams from international events wherever possible (BBC Sport).
Russian football clubs and national teams have already been suspended from all FIFA and UEFA competitions.
Conte, who worked at Chelsea from 2016 to 2018, has admitted that the situation at Stamford Bridge is quite complex, given what is going on in Ukraine.
The Spurs boss said (via Football.London): “I think in every situation you have to take responsibility. In every situation. When you work you have to take responsibility. Your question is about the responsibility of players and managers.
“I think this is a type of problem. The job is a player and for me, my job is a coach. This question could be also for other sports, not only for football. For NFL or basketball.
“I think the moment the club decides to put you in charge, me as a coach or as a player, the most important thing is to take responsibility to give your best for the club. I think this has to be the best responsibility that you have to give to the club, no?
“No one forced anyone to take me or another player. It’s a free choice. At the same time, we have to feel responsibility to do our job in the best possible way.
“For me, to get the best out of my players and the players to committed 120 per cent for the club, for the badge. This is the big responsibility. For the other situations, it’s difficult to answer. We risk going in other aspects, it’s too general a situation, it’s not specific to answer something interesting about this question.”
When asked about his time at Chelsea he responded: “We are talking about four or five years ago. At the time, Chelsea, also now, we’re talking about a fantastic club. With an owner that made this club big,” he said.
“Don’t forget that in the period he was the owner, Chelsea won everything, but it was for Chelsea. I think also we have seen other Russian owners in other teams. Not only in football but in many sports.”
Speaking about the bans imposed on some Russian athletes, the Spurs boss said: “I repeat, it’s very sad that this serious situation, this war between Russia and Ukraine, is affecting football and the sporting [world]. To know that Russian athletes are banned from competition is very sad.
“I think it’s not fair. I know very well the work that they do every day for this competition. You have to pay for this situation, I think it’s not right.
“Honestly I hope the situation is going to be solved, because it’s creating a lot of damage. We’re in 2022 and to see this is horrible for everybody.”
Spurs Web Opinion
What has happened at Chelsea is not fair on their fans but at times like this, the situation in Ukraine needs to take precedence over anything related to football. I do expect Chelsea to come through this relatively unscathed as I believe that Abramovich will be allowed to sell the club over the coming months.
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