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Chelsea could be forced to cancel USA Tour depending on results in the final eight matches this season

This is something that was brought to my attention both on Twitter and Facebook by a couple different Chelsea supporters' groups in the USA.  It makes sense that they would be following these developments the closest: US-based fans are the most heavily invested in hoping that Chelsea come to the USA every summer, to see the boys in Blue live and in the flesh.

Chelsea have signed on for this year's edition of the International Champions Cup, which will see them play three friendlies in eight days, starting with a match against Liverpool at the Rose Bowl (Jul 28), then an even bigger match against Real Madrid at The Big House (Jul 30), and finishing with a match against AC Milan at the brand new stadium of the Minnesota Vikings (Aug 4).


Should Chelsea finish either in 4th or 6th/7th (depending on who wins the FA Cup), there's a very good chance that the club would cancel the US tour (and the ICC would have to draft in a replacement).  This is especially true should Chelsea finish in a position that would see us qualify for the Europa League third qualifying round (i.e. 6th or 7th).

If we finish 4th, that means a spot in the Champions League play-off round, which is set to take place August 16-17 and August 23-24.  This would add congestion to the early season calendar (the Premier League starts on August 13), but would probably still allow the club to travel to America.  Not that it matters; we're not finishing 4th.

There is still a decent chance however of finishing 6th or 7th, which would mean a spot in the Europa League third qualifying round, which is currently scheduled for July 28th (first leg) and August 4th (second leg).  (You may remember Southampton playing Vitesse and their cadre of Chelsea loanees in this same round at the start of this season.)  These fixtures would obviously present a conflict with the scheduled games in America, and should we qualify for them, would force the cancellation of the USA tour this summer.

Thanks to back-to-back draws, Chelsea's chances of finishing in the European spots have decreased considerably over the past few weeks.  We're currently 9 points behind Manchester United in 6th and 6 points behind Southampton in 7th (albeit with a game in hand).  But there's also Liverpool to contend with, who are three points ahead of us and with yet another game in hand.

So, Chelsea having to miss out on the US tour is probably not too much of a worry right now.  It's probably better this way anyway.  It's a bit of a pick your poison situation, but I'll take a longer, relatively calmer pre-season (and extended time for the new manager to pore over the squad) over Europa League early rounds any day.

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