Chelsea coach, Thomas Tuchel has confirmed that his team cannot fly to the FA Cup quarter-final at Middlesbrough due to the impact of the sanctions imposed on the club by the UK Government due to their owner Roman Abramovich’s close links with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Instead, they will have to undertake a 10-hour round-trip by coach consisting of 536 miles from their Cobham training base in Surrey to the Riverside Stadium.
Chelsea’s next match is on Wednesday night at French outfit Lille in the Champions League last 16. However, with travel arrangements in place before the sanctions were enforced those plans are allowed to remain intact.
But Saturday’s trip to face Middlesbrough in the FA Cup is the first fixture that will be affected as plans were not in place before the sanctions, hence the 10-hour round-trip by coach that is pending.
The Stamford Bridge outfit have been told the £20,000 cap imposed by the UK Government on the per-match travel expenses would not cover the cost of hiring a plane to take them to the Riverside Stadium.
Speaking ahead of Wednesday night’s Champions League last-16 second-leg clash at Lille, Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel confirmed that their preparations will differ once their trip to France has concluded.
‘We want to find solutions, we want to play the match on Saturday as much as we want to play in the Champions League,’ he said.
We have a framework to play in Lille with no excuses. It is difficult to arrange things in the best way possible for the FA Cup, but we will deal with it.
‘It isn’t about luxury and bling-bling. This is just a pro level of sports, where we play with two days between matches with our opponent having four days between matches and we arrive with the possibilities of injuries.
‘For that, it is better to arrive with a plan rather than a bus.’
Speaking about the arising travel issues, Kai Havertz insisted he would happily pay out of his own pocket to travel to Middlesbrough and future games as that is irrelevant as long as the fixtures can happen.
‘I would pay, no problem. That’s not a big deal for us,’ he said.
‘To come to the games is the most important. There are harder moments in the world, than [worry about] taking the plane or bus to away games.’