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Report: Chelsea eye total Stamford Bridge rebuild as part of stadium development plans

Blues’ preferred option would cost UK£1.5bn and expand the venue’s capacity to 55,000.

3 March 2023 Josh Sim

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  • Club in talks with the Chelsea Pitch Owners while awaiting outcome of UK£50m bid for nearby site
  • Previous report indicated the Blues would temporarily relocate to Wembley while work takes place

English soccer giants Chelsea’s stadium development plans are centred on knocking down Stamford Bridge and building a new stadium on the existing site, according to the Daily Telegraph.

While a final decision has not been made yet, the report suggests that demolishing their current home is the club’s most probable course of action. The other two options available is to redevelop Stamford Bridge or moving permanently to a new venue. Co-owners Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali are said to be unwavering in their pursuit of Chelsea playing in one of the best stadiums in Europe.

Chelsea board member Jonathan Goldstein and Janet Marie Smith, the executive vice president of planning and development for Major League Baseball’s (MLB) Los Angeles Dodgers, have been put in charge of the project. They are in discussions with the Chelsea Pitch Owners (CPO), the shareholder group that owns Stamford Bridge’s freehold, as well as awaiting the outcome of a UK£50 million (US$60 million) bid to acquire a plot of land.

The purchase of the 1.2 acre site next to their current home from housing association Stoll would provide more space to develop fan parks and offices, as well as paving the way for a new venue that would be able to host at least 55,000 fans. The overall project in knocking down Stamford Bridge and building a new stadium is estimated to take at least five years to complete, while at least UK£1.5 billion (US$1.8 billion) is thought to be needed for the work required. The earliest date the club could play in their new home is believed to be around 2030.

A previous report indicated that the Blues could play at Wembley Stadium while the revamp takes place, while ground sharing with Fulham at Craven Cottage is also mentioned as a possibility.

Redeveloping the current ground is thought to be least likely to occur, given the large expenses involved and the inconvenience of having to close off large areas of the venue. As for the third option, the CPO has been previously assured by the club’s ownership that relocating from Stamford Bridge would not be on the table if it did not give approval. The only possible site considered for a move would be located in Earl’s Court, but the site is estimated to cost a hefty UK£750 million (US$900 million).

“The CPO is having positive talks with the club about redevelopment,” Chris Isitt, chair of the CPO told the Telegraph. “We understand this is a complicated project which needs careful consideration, but we share the common aim, which is to have the best stadium in London.”

Staying in the Premier League, Manchester City have unveiled plans to increase the capacity of their Etihad Stadium home to more than 60,000. The development also includes the introduction of a covered fan zone that could host 3,000 supporters. A new club shop, museum, hotel and a range of food and drink outlets are also being proposed within the team’s plans.

City also have outlined a proposal to build a workspace for technology startups to collaborate with the club, while they are also said to be developing alternative travel methods to and from the stadium for fans.

A consultation process is now underway, with fans and locals invited to share their thoughts. The redevelopment would take place over three years should it be approved.

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