Chelsea could be set to move away from Stamford Bridge, which has been their home for 117 years, to a new site in Earl’s Court. However, no plans for a hypothetical new stadium have been submitted yet.
Roman Abramovich, Chelsea’s former owner, tried to move the Blues to a new location in 2013, but was blocked by Hammersmith and Fulham Council. However, Chelsea bosses will look to try again, as the site was purchased by independent property developers in 2019.
Additionally, Chelsea could be forced to change the name of the football club should they move to a new stadium. Chelsea Pitch Owners PLC own the freehold rights of Stamford Bridge, as well as the name ‘Chelsea FC’. Among its directors include Chelsea legends such as John Terry, Pat Nevin and Marcel Desailly.
Should Chelsea fail to secure planning permission for a new stadium, they may exercise other options to modernise the football club. Currently, Stamford Bridge can hold 40,341 seated fans, making it the ninth largest stadium in the Premier League based on capacity.
Reportedly, Chelsea’s new chairman and co-owner, Todd Boehly, has appointed Janet Marie Smith to undertake the development of the new ground. Smith is known for having overseen the redevelopment of Olympic Stadium in Atlanta and Fenway Park in Boston.
What has been said about the potential move?
An unconfirmed source talking to the Mail on Sunday said that a move away from Stamford Bridge was ‘not on the cards’. However, they also said that it was ‘not impossible’ and that ‘things can change’.
Earl’s Court Development Company wrote on Twitter:"@ChelseaFC have been considering their stadium development options for many years. @earlscourtdevco is working on a plan for the Earls Court site delivering homes, jobs, culture & open space with a master plan application in late 2023. Our plans *do not* include a sports stadium."
According to Football.London, Jonathan Goldstein, one of the new co-owners of the Blues, said: "The fact that people need to be aware of is that there is no existing planning permission on the site. There was planning permission but it’s lapsed so we have to start again. We’re at the beginning of that process and obviously there’s two alternatives.
“You either redevelop the existing stadium or you take it down and build a new one on the site. We’re very tight at Stamford Bridge, the Chelsea Pitch Owners are part of that process and we’re going through our own educational process, we will then consult with fans and local authorities.
“I would hope that over the next 12 to 18 months you will be able to invite me back and I’ll be able to tell you how we intend to take that forwards. We’re really focused on understanding the locality and understanding what we’ve got at Stamford Bridge and maximising the opportunity and the excitement for the fans."
What will happen if Chelsea do not secure a move away from Stamford Bridge?
Alternatively, if a move away from Stamford Bridge is not secured, Chelsea may look to plan a massive redevelopment of their home ground. Goldstein said in October: “We are looking very heavily at redevelopment. The planning process is something which we will start during the course of the next year.
"We hope central government will get behind it and see it as an engine for growth. The only problem, of course, is the management of interest rates because it makes it so much more expensive to develop."