Chelsea holds talks over £500m stadium loans

Chelsea could borrow up to £500m ($660/€560m) to fund the building of its new stadium.

The London club has received planning permission from the local authority for the 60,000-seat redevelopment of its Stamford Bridge home.

The Times newspaper reports that while owner Roman Abramovich is willing to bankroll the project, the club’s board is eager to assess other options. It reports that Chelsea has held talks with several investment banks in recent months about obtaining loans totalling £500m. The servicing of such finance could affect the club’s budget, and limit expenditure on players.

Further redevelopment costs could be funded by a naming-rights deal as well as advance ticket and corporate sales. The Times reports that the club favours a naming-rights deal that would retain the current name of the stadium, with The X Stadium at Stamford Bridge as its preferred formulation.

Under current plans, the stadium’s capacity would increase from 41,670 to 60,000, with the additional created by lowering the pitch.

Ambitious designs by architects Herzog & de Meuron, who built the Bird’s Nest Stadium in Beijing, were approved by the Mayor of London in March.

Chelsea had hoped to start building work at the end of next season, but the likely start date has been put back until 2020, at which point the club will leave Stamford Bridge and probably decamp to Wembley, which is likely to be a temporary home for three or four seasons.

Reports in April even suggested Chelsea have held talks with West Ham United over a potential ground-share at the London Stadium during redevelopment. A move to East London would put Chelsea 12 miles across London from its home.

IMAGE: Herzog & de Meuron