England: Chelsea to move out of Stamford Bridge for six years?

source: StadiumDB.com; author: Paulina Skóra

England: Chelsea to move out of Stamford Bridge for six years? Chelsea's leaders are facing a tough choice regarding the future of the stadium. According to The Sun, two options have been considered for years: a thorough reconstruction of Stamford Bridge or the construction of an entirely new facility on land near the current home of The Blues. What decision will be made?


Reconstruction or construction?

The West London club, long before Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital took over in 2022, didn't know what to do with their stadium. Former owner Roman Abramovich planned a reconstruction, but this investment never materialized. The current leaders also can't decide whether to modernize the club's headquarters, the 1905 stadium, or move to a new venue.

The Sun reports that renovation would be too difficult to carry out without completely demolishing the site and rebuilding it in the same place. So, in reality, it wouldn't be a reconstruction, but rather a construction of a new Stamford Bridge. During this time, Chelsea would be homeless. Originally, they wanted to modernize it like Anfield, but according to reports, building in the western part of London where The Blues' facility is located is completely out of the question.

Stamford Bridge© Brent Flanders (cc: by-nc-nd)

Considerations continue

Has consideration also been given to constructing a new facility to seat around 60,000 on the site of the former Earls Court exhibition centre? However, this would be an incredibly costly move, as the land itself, about a mile from Stamford Bridge, would likely cost £500 million. Adding the project costs and the construction costs, Chelsea would have to spend around £1.5 billion on this investment. Representatives of Earls Court, however, denied that any discussions regarding the stadium's construction on this site took place.

Nevertheless, it seemed that Chelsea's plans for the reconstruction of Stamford Bridge took a significant step forward in October last year, after the Stoll Charity board approved the sale of the club's land, where the homes of military veterans are located, to the club. The agreement to purchase the majority of Sir Oswald Stoll's estate for £80 million is expected to be finalized this year.

Stamford Bridge© Brent Flanders (cc: by-nc-nd)

What do owners of Stamford Bridge think about this?

However, Chelsea Pitch Owners (CPO) organization still needs to approve the move from Stamford Bridge. This powerful group of over 14,000 fans from all around the world was founded in 1993 to ensure that the club's land would never be sold to developers. They own the pitch and other parts of the stadium. CPO also owns the rights to the name Chelsea Football Club.

CPO's chairman, Chris Isitt, issued a statement in October stating that he expects the club to soon make a decision regarding stadium plans. According to him, the potential construction of a new stadium on the Stoll site is possible, but it will take a lot of time before any work can begin on the site. Additionally, a new planning application would be required, even though some of these formalities have already been completed as part of the earlier project proposed by 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, said the chairman quoted by the Daily Mail.

In a potential vote on the club's proposal for a new stadium, over 14,000 CPO shareholders could participate, with 75% needing to agree for the club to begin its work.

Stamford Bridge© Matt Rayns - Groundhopper

Just increasing capacity?

Roman Abramovich's project, on the other hand, involved modernizing and significantly increasing the capacity of Stamford Bridge from the current 40,343 seats. The funds for this purpose were reserved at the stage of Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital taking over the club in May 2022. This amount is £4.25 billion.

Potential works aimed at increasing capacity to 60,000 seats could start as early as 2026. If Chelsea's owners decide to take this step, construction may take much longer than four or five years; independent experts have described the proposed end date by Chelsea for 2030 as very optimistic.

Where to move?

What if Chelsea had to play their home games in a different stadium for a while? Todd Boehly reportedly has had informal discussions with Fulham owner Shahid Khan about the possibility of playing home games at Craven Cottage. And although this would be a very convenient solution as the venue is only a mile from Stamford Bridge, the capacity of 25,700 could result in The Blues losing a large portion of matchday revenue. Other stadiums where Chelsea could play during the reconstruction include Wembley or Twickenham.

Stamford Bridge© Matt Rayns - Groundhopper