English Premier League football club Chelsea will not move into its redeveloped Stamford Bridge home until at least 2024 after it was revealed that the project is to be delayed by three years.
The redevelopment is expected to cost at least £500m (€562.2m/$654.7m) and will expand the match-day capacity at Stamford Bridge from 41,600 to 60,000.
Initial plans had suggested that the project could begin at the end of the 2017-18 season and be finished in time for the start of the 2021-22 campaign.
However, at a recent meeting with supporters groups’, also attended by Chelsea members Bruce Buck and Marina Granovskaia, it was revealed that work will now not begin until at least the 2021-22 season.
Speaking at a Fans Forum earlier this season, a member of the stadium project said, according to the Daily Mail newspaper: “We hope, subject to approvals, to start (work) in the third quarter of 2018 including the museum and health club being demolished, with work on the railway lines starting in 2019.
“There will be at least two further seasons here after this one.”
Planned demolition work on the surroundings at Stamford Bridge and the adjacent railway line is likely to begin next year as scheduled.
Once work on the demolition of the main stadium begins, Chelsea will relocate to another London-based venue for four seasons. Wembley Stadium and London Stadium, the current home of Premier League rival West Ham United, had both been put forward as options.
Concerns had been raised over the use of Wembley, with Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur currently playing home matches at the venue while work on its new stadium is finished.
Construction is due for completion in time for the 2018-19 season, but if work were to overrun and Chelsea also required Wembley, this may have created an issue regarding fixture congestion.
However, with Chelsea’s project seemingly delayed and the Spurs stadium on track, it is unlikely Wembley will be serving as a temporary home to any club next season.