English Premier League football club Chelsea has said it will continue to consider its options for a new stadium “should economic conditions improve” with its planning permission for a new ground set to expire tomorrow (Tuesday).

Chelsea was granted permission to expand the capacity of its Stamford Bridge stadium in January 2017 but announced in May 2018 that it had put plans on hold due to the “current unfavourable investment climate”.

Chelsea had hoped to increase Stamford Bridge’s capacity from 41,000 to around 60,000 but it was reported last year that the club was considering moving to a new site entirely amid rising costs involved with developing its current home. The report from New Civil Engineer did state that redevelopment of Stamford Bridge remained the preferred option.

In a statement released over the weekend, Chelsea acknowledged the impending expiration of the planning permission it received for a new stadium.

Chelsea’s statement added: “We are grateful to all our fans and stakeholders, especially Hammersmith & Fulham Council, for their patience and understanding in the matter. We will continue to consider our options for a new stadium, should economic conditions improve.”

The expansion of Stamford Bridge into a 60,000-seat facility could reportedly cost as much as £1bn (€1.1bn/$1.2bn). The club had initially intended to start work on the ground before the start of the 2018-19 season ahead of potentially moving into the stadium in time for the 2021-22 campaign. Plans are unlikely to move forward in the near future amid financial uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Image: Lachlan Fearnley