Chelsea preseason tour in USA in doubt amid uncertainty over sanctions and ownership status

Chelsea’s planned summer tour to the United States to face Arsenal and another unnamed club in preseason in either Las Vegas or Orlando is in doubt amid the ownership uncertainty.

Blues owner Roman Abramovich was sanctioned on March 10, as his assets were frozen in a move which effectively paused most of the cash flow in and out of the club.

That is an issue for scheduling the planned games overseas in the summer with significant planning, logistics and costs needed to stage the fixtures.

MORE: What Abramovich sanctions mean for Chelsea

Chelsea plans for summer US tour

The Blues are keen to finally monetize their signing of Christian Pulisic who they signed in 2019 but have not been able to visit the United States with him.

Chelsea had preseason plans during the first summer that he joined before the global COVID-19 pandemic hit and forced the club to play their warmup matches in the United Kingdom for safety reasons.

Currently, the Blues are limited to spending just $26,000 per match for travel, hotels and other associated costs.

That is low for Premier League clubs, even within the UK, but the Blues are in talks with the government about increasing that limit.

Like Chelsea, Arsenal also want to play in the US after canceling their matches last summer due to a COVID-19 outbreak.

MORE: The impact of the sanctions on the Chelsea club sale

Chelsea takeover update

The talks to sell the club on behalf of Abramovich by the New York investment bank Raine Group have been put on hold.

Currently, the Blues can’t be sold under the license that was issued to them following sanctions against their owner.

However, the UK Government is in dialogue with the club about how the club can be sold as long as Abramovich doesn’t see a penny from any potential sale.

Chelsea are keen to make the transition as soon as possible as the sanctions block them from renewing contracts, signing new players, or even selling general sale tickets at their stadium.

MORE: How Pulisic is impacted by Abramovich sanctions

Furthermore, the association with a sanctioned individual has caused their principal shirt sponsor Three to suspend its $52 million-a-year deal, with Nike feared to be considering pulling its kit deal.

There is concern among staff in west London that, should this drag on, redundancies will soon have to be made.

So far, in a club-wide email to the 1,400 staff, chairman Bruce Buck offered no assurances about retaining jobs and urged staff to keep quiet amid intense scrutiny on the club.

The positive aspect for the Blues is that almost all the prospective buyers are said to be patiently waiting to see how they can win the race to buy Chelsea.

That includes the likes of English billionaire Nick Candy, the Saudi Media consortium and the Boehly-Wyss consortium.

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