Chelsea Seeks Approval From Pitch Owners For Move From Stamford Bridge
EPL club Chelsea is “paving the way for a possible move from Stamford Bridge by proposing to buy back the pitch and stands which are owned by a supporter-led group,” according to Jason Burt of the London TELEGRAPH. The club insisted that “there is nothing ‘active’ in terms of leaving the Bridge,” where the team has played since 1905. But Chelsea Chair Bruce Buck yesterday said, “We have to be prepared for a move if something right comes along for Chelsea.” Three areas “have been identified as possible sites,” although there are “no discussions at present.” If Chelsea did move they would “like then to redevelop the Stamford Bridge site for a mix of residential and commercial use to help pay for the switch, with the rest of the costs being met by bank finance and probably a contribution from owner Roman Abramovich.” Chelsea is “calling an extraordinary meeting of the Chelsea Pitch Owners association for Oct 27 where they will need to gain 50 per cent approval from the shareholders in attendance.” Buck has “ruled out a ground-share with either Queens Park Rangers, who are looking to build a new stadium, or Fulham.” Burt notes the club has spent around US$924,000 “exhausting every possibility to expand or rebuild Stamford Bridge to increase its 41,800-capacity, including flattening the stadium and rotating the pitch, deciding that neither of these options is cost efficient.” Buck and team CEO Ron Gourlay said that it was “highly possible that Chelsea would decide to remain at the Bridge” (London TELEGRAPH, 10/4). In London, Sam Wallace notes Chelsea wants “the option of building a stadium with a capacity of around 55,000-60,000 to compete with the likes of Manchester United and Arsenal.” Chelsea officials "have been reluctant to give any details of a possible move until now," when the issue with the Chelsea Pitch Owners “forced their hand” (London INDEPENDENT, 10/4).