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Volume 6 No. 265

Facilities

Chelsea's £1B ($1.4B) redevelopment of Stamford Bridge "has moved a step closer" after Hammersmith & Fulham Council passed a motion that will "prevent an injunction blocking the plans," according to Simon Stone of the BBC. The injunction was taken out by a neighboring family, the Crosthwaites, "who argue the stadium's expansion to a 60,000-seater would block light into their home." At a meeting on Monday, the council agreed to acquire land at Stamford Bridge "which ensured the injunction is not valid, as the family cannot take the council to the High Court." The new stadium was granted planning permission one year ago "and has been signed off" by London Mayor Sadiq Khan. Monday's decision "means the council can take responsibility for the land in question at Chelsea's instruction and lease it back to the club," ensuring it is "not subject to legal challenge as had previously been the case." This will "only happen if the club cannot reach an agreement with the Crosthwaites" (BBC, 1/15). In London, Oliver Todd reported the deal was agreed "within five minutes at a meeting at Hammersmith Town Hall on Monday." The Crosthwaite family "could now pursue a judicial review," having said it will "take all legal action available" in a letter from its solicitors. That would "challenge the way in which the council's decision was made." As it stands, though, "work can begin on the redevelopment unless further action is taken." Chelsea had made it clear it feared there was "a very real risk the stadium would not be redeveloped" if it could not get around the Crosthwaites' High Court injunction (DAILY MAIL, 1/15). The London TELEGRAPH reported many of Crosthwaite's neighbors on the street, where properties are sold for more than £1.18M ($1.63M), "have already accepted offers of compensation." The family is "understood to have already turned down a large sum from the club." The "right to light" law gives a landowner "the right to receive sunlight through defined openings or gaps in buildings on his or her land" (TELEGRAPH, 1/15).

Scottish Premiership side Aberdeen "risks losing out" on int'l football if "plans to build a new stadium at Kingsford are blocked," the Scottish FA warned, according to the BBC. Aberdeenshire Council renewed its objection to the club's £50M ($69M) stadium and training facilities proposal last week. A "special council meeting is scheduled to rule on the plans" on Jan. 29. SFA CEO Stewart Regan said that the development "would ensure that the city remains in the running for hosting Scotland matches." Regan: "With the introduction of the UEFA Nations League replacing international friendlies, last year's match against Holland could be the last time Pittodrie, and therefore Aberdeen, will host a Scotland international, due to its well-documented constraints." The SFA and Scottish Professional Football League "had previously supported the club's stadium move" (BBC, 1/16).

DEFINING DECISION: In London, Michael Grant reported Aberdeen Manager Derek McInnes believes Aberdeen "cannot grow as a club or reach a higher level" unless its £50M new stadium plans "are finally approved over the next two weeks." Senior execs at Aberdeen "are quietly confident that councillors will give the plans their approval but the situation is tense." McInnes is "convinced that Aberdeen cannot significantly increase" its revenues without building its own dedicated training ground and having a modern 20,000-capacity stadium that "can generate higher income levels than Pittodrie." McInnes said, "The decision will impact on the club and what animal we can be. I want us to be better than what we are at the minute. Unless someone starts investing money into the club, I don’t see how we can be" (LONDON TIMES, 1/16).

An offer from League One side Peterborough United to buy back its stadium from the city council was rejected, club Chair Darragh MacAnthony revealed. Asked if the club was "any closer" to buying back the ABAX Stadium, he replied, "I made an excellent offer but it was turned down. More on that later in week" (PETERBOROUGH TODAY, 1/16).

National League side Eastleigh is "ready to unveil the next stage" of its ground development at the end of the month. The club earmarked its home game against Hartlepool United on Jan. 27 as the official opening of its new West Stand extension. Costing an estimated £750,000 ($1.03M), the extension incorporates a large gymnasium and treatment room for the players and a football management office (SOUTHERN DAILY ECHO, 1/16).

A Primeira Liga match was abandoned at halftime and "spectators evacuated on to the pitch after cracks appeared in a stand." Estoril was leading 1-0 at home against Porto on Monday when away fans were "ordered from one of the stands at the Antonio Coimbra da Mota Stadium." According to broadcaster Sport TV, "one of the stand pillars had cracks of around 2cm" (BBC, 1/16).