Chelsea manager staying upbeat as sanctions bite

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel said he trusted the British government to find a solution for Chelsea's operations to return to normal by the end of the season after sanctions imposed on their Russian owner Roman Abramovich left the club in limbo.

Abramovich, who had been under scrutiny following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, announced he was selling the west London club last week but that sale is now on hold with Chelsea operating under a special government licence.

The sanctions allow Chelsea to continue playing games and pay their squad and staff, but the world and European chanpions cannot transfer players in or out as things stand.

"There are negotiations and talks going on about the licence," Tuchel said ahead of their English Premier League game at home to Newcastle United on Monday (NZ time).

"I trust in everybody who is in charge, I trust people who are in charge in the government to find a solution that keeps us going through the season and gives us the possibility to be in charge of our actions in the summer.

"We were all surprised by the news and it is too early to have an outlook on the summer."

The last round of Premier League fixtures is on May 23, with the transfer window set to reopen in June.

With Chelsea's main shirt sponsor, mobile network Three, asking the club to remove its logo and suspending its relationship, Tuchel said the players could "wear a message for peace" on the team shirts instead.

"It can never be the wrong message," he said. "Maybe the worry is to find enough shirts to play in with the sanctions.

"But as long as we have enough shirts and the bus is full of fuel, we will arrive and be competitive."

The sanctions, however, threw a spanner in the works with the club trying to renew the contracts of defenders Antonio Rudiger, Cesar Azpilicueta and Andreas Christensen. All three players' are out of contract at the end of the season.

"I'm not sure I'm the right person to speak about it because I don't have full information," Tuchel said. "As the club said, there are talks with the government.

"This situation concerns the whole club. It concerns the women (Chelsea Women's team), it concerns the academy. So I certainly don't think I'm the most important person who's involved in all this."

Chelsea, who have won their last four league games, are third in the standings while Newcastle are 14th.