Christian Pulisic Chelsea 2021-22Getty

Chelsea's pre-season US tour and Arsenal friendly in doubt following Abramovich sanctions

Chelsea's planned tour to the United States to face Arsenal and another unnamed club in pre-season in either Las Vegas or Orlando is in doubt amid the ownership uncertainty.

Blues owner Roman Abramovich was sanctioned on Thursday, 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 huge levels of organisation and cost needed to stage the fixture.

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Why are Chelsea planning to play in the US?

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

That's because they already had pre-season plans during the first summer that he joined before the global coronavirus pandemic hit and forced the club to play their warm-up matches in the United Kingdom for safety reasons.

Currently, the Blues are limited to spending just £20,000 per match for travel, hotels and other associated costs. 

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

Like Chelsea, Arsenal also want to play in the US after cancelling their matches last summer due to a Covid outbreak.

What is going on with the takeover and sanctions?

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 licence that was issued to them following sanctions on their owner.

However, the UK Government is in constant dialogue with the club about how to sell the club 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 have blocked them from renewing contracts, signing new players, or even selling general sale tickets at their stadium.

Furthermore, the association with a sanctioned individual has caused their principal shirt sponsor Three to suspend its £40 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 known to GOAL are 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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