Hammersmith and Fulham council have declared that they are “generally happy” about Chelsea’s plans to redevelop Stamford Bridge.
Roman Abramovich has chosen to invest in the redevelopment of Chelsea’s home ground in order to bring the Bridge up to date with the capacity of the Premier League defending champion’s rivals.
Chelsea’s current stadium has been their home since 1905 and has a capacity of 42,000. That is significantly smaller than Manchester United’s 79, 000, Arsenal’s 60,000 and Manchester City’s 55,000. Liverpool are also currently revamping their stadium to take it from 42,500 to a 54,000 capacity stadium.
Abramovich had initially wanted to move away from Stamford Bridge and the Chelsea hierarchy described the likelihood of expanding their current home as “not feasible or viable” in 2012. The club had made an approach to build a new stadium on the grounds of the iconic Battersea Power Station, but that was rejected.
Chelsea are reportedly close to agreeing a deal with Wembley in order to allow them to play their home games at the stadium of the national team having previously been turned down when the made a similar approach to play at the home of England rugby, Twickenham.
Having submitted their preliminary documents to the Hammersmith and Fulham council and received their blessing as long as “certain conditions are met”, Chelsea are now expected to submit their full application. It is hoped that work can begin on the new stadium at the start of next season.