Design & Development

Chelsea stadium decision set to be finalised as CPO issues statement

Featured image credit: Virginia Marinova on Unsplash

Chelsea Pitch Owners (CPO), which holds the freehold to Stamford Bridge, has moved to clarify its role in the potential redevelopment of the stadium amid talk of a major renovation project.

Last week, Stoll, which provides housing for veterans, announced that it had agreed to sell the majority of its Fulham site to Chelsea in a move that will make it easier for the Premier League club to renovate Stamford Bridge.

The sale, which is expected to be completed in early 2024, was approved after a deal was agreed in principle back in July. The 1.2-acre site is located to the west of the stadium, near Fulham Broadway tube station.

Chelsea has been weighing up a major redevelopment of Stamford Bridge, its home since 1905, or building a new stadium from scratch. No commitment to either project has been made yet, and CPO chair Chris Isitt has released a statement to clarify the group’s position and the role it would play in any redevelopment of Stamford Bridge.

The club would not be able to depart Stamford Bridge and keep the moniker ‘Chelsea FC’ without securing 75% backing from CPO, which holds the freehold to the stadium under a 30-year agreement.

Should Chelsea ask for permission to play at any other stadium, either temporarily or permanently, it would be a matter for CPO shareholders, and not board members, to decide whether to grant that permission, CPO said.

The group added that it has not yet been informed of any decision made by the club on its future plans for Stamford Bridge, but said that a decision is set to be finalised “shortly”.

CPO added: “As we understand it, although the purchase of the Stoll site has been agreed, it will be some considerable time before the site can be vacated. In addition, a new planning application would be required, even though some of that work was done during the earlier project under Roman Abramovich.

“Once an application has been approved, estimates on the time required for demolition and rebuild vary from four years up to as much as seven years, during which time the club would need to relocate its home games.”

With a capacity of around 40,000, Stamford Bridge is the smallest stadium of the Premier League’s ‘big six’. Owner Todd Boehly, who completed his acquisition of Chelsea in May last year, has made the redevelopment of Stamford Bridge a key priority.

Reports emerged in March that Chelsea was considering building a new £2bn (€2.3bn/$2.4bn) stadium on the site of Stamford Bridge, with the club potentially facing up to four years at a temporary home while the work is carried out.

Previous reports have suggested that Chelsea could consider building a new 60,000-seat stadium in Earl’s Court, but in March, the company overseeing the regeneration of Earl’s Court “categorically denied” reports that it was in talks with the club.

The acquisition of the Stoll site would appear to confirm that Chelsea’s focus is on redeveloping Stamford Bridge rather than building a new stadium.