Chelsea have announced via their official club website that they are putting plans for their revamped stadium on hold.
The Fulham based club were given permission to start work on their new stadium by the Hammersmith and Fulham council in March, however the club have now said that they have temporarily paused the project “due to the current unfavourable investment climate”. The club also went on to say that they “do not have a set timeframe for reconsideration of this decision”.
The sudden decision could be linked comments made by Theresa May’s spokesperson. It was revealed that Roman Abramovich, Chelsea’s Russian billionaire owner, would not be granted a new visa and could not work in the country. He will be allowed to return to the UK on a visitors visa (this is after he was granted full citizenship by Israel), which would allow the Russian to stay in the country for up to six months at a time, however it would not allow him to conduct any work whatsoever.
Sky sources are reporting that despite having shelved plans to revamp Stamford Bridge, it will remain “business as usual” and the owner’s commitment to the club remains “unwavering”.
Abramovich was expected to invest north of one billion pounds into the redevelopment of Chelsea’s current stadium, and the club were expected to play at an alternative venue through 2020 and 2021, similar to the approach of Tottenham Hotspur while their new stadium neared completion.
It is a shame for both the club and its fans that these plans will not be going ahead in the near future, as Stamford Bridge is the oldest stadium in the Premier League having stood in place since 1887. Obviously a vast number of upgrades have been made over the years, however compared to other teams at the top of the table their home ground could be found somewhat lacking. The stadium can seat 41,000 fans for a game, though this is only the seventh highest capacity in the Premier League, increasing capacity to 60,000 would have made Stamford Bridge the joint fifth largest capacity stadium in the Premier League.
It remains to be seen if or when these plans will go ahead, but fans can assume that it will not be for a number of years at least.