Chelsea FC to unveil ambitious A?500m plan to increase capacity to 60,000 at a consultation meeting to local residents and supporters at a Stamford Bridge exhibition between June 30 and July 2.
According to reports in the Telegraph, Chelsea FC could be forced to find a new home for up to three years if the club push ahead with plans to expand Stamford Bridge that includes ideas for Chelsea to dig down below street level to increase the capacity of the stadium from 41,798 to 60,000.
Owner Roman Abramovich will have to fully fund the project with early predictions estimating it could cost A?500 million and take up to three years to complete the plan, meaning Chelsea FC would have to play away from Stamford Bridge during the period.
Twickenham has previously been touted as a potential temporary home for the Premier League champions and Chelsea FC have held discussions with Rugby Football Uniona s Ian Ritchie, while Wembley would be another option for the London club.
While there is the possibility of rebuilding Stamford Bridge without having to move away, but, such a project could take four seasons to complete and would mean the team playing in front of a reduced capacity.
Chelsea FC have insisted the plans are still very much in the initial stages and are a yearsa from being made reality, although there has been talks internally at the club of the team playing in a new stadium in 10 yearsa time.
Chelsea FC have previously considered building a new stadium at Earls Court, White City and Battersea Power Station, but are now focusing their energy on redeveloping Stamford Bridge.
There are several challenging aspects with the environment Chelsea FC have to work on if they have to rebuild Stamford Bridge.
The current site is only 12 acres, while 60,000-capacity stadiums are normally built on at least 20 acres of land. There are also railway tracks at the back of the East Stand that would have to be built over.
A Chelsea statement read: a A year ago a study of the area from Fulham Broadway to Stamford Bridge and beyond was commissioned by Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich to examine the potential of upgrading the streetscape.
a The study also began to assess the feasibility of an expansion of the stadium capacity within the existing historical site boundary, based on the principles of improving site access, benefiting the neighbourhood and enhancing the spectator experience.
a Mr Abramovich has appointed a professional team to assess, in more detail, the feasibility of expanding the existing stadium capacity at Stamford Bridge Grounds.
a The process now enters a further local consultation phase. This will include an explanation of the rationale for expansion, driven by spectator demand for more seats and the need to increase stadium revenue to remain competitive with our major rivals, this revenue being especially important under Financial Fair Play rules.”
a Technical solutions for stadium capacity expansion are being investigated initially. This stage of the consultation will focus at present on discussing the rationale and technical solutions for expansion with residents and match-going spectators.”
a Local stakeholders, neighbours, season ticket holders and club members will be invited to comment on the potential expansion. This feedback, which to date has assisted our progress in earlier stages, will continue to inform the next stage of the study.a