Chelsea could play away from Stamford Bridge for 'at least' two seasons while they redevelop stadium to 60,000 capacity

Club will spend around £500m on the redevelopment

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The Independent Football

Chelsea could be forced to play away from their Stamford Bridge home for 'at least' two seasons should they get permission to redevelop the ground to 60,000 capacity.

The club will reveal the £500million proposals to local residents and fans at an exhibition at the stadium between 30 June and 2 July, that will see their home of 110 years see a sharp increase from the current capacity of 41,798.

Chelsea's problems stem from the site sitting on just 12 acres, when around 20 acres is normally required for a stadium of the proposed size; building could take place over railway tracks or by digging below street level.

Roman Abramovich will foot the £500m bill for a project that could take up to four years if the team continued to play at the ground - moving out would cut that to around two years.

England rugby home Twickenham has been mentioned - although local residents may object to regular matches - as has national stadium Wembley, but Brent council's current policy would not allow the required number of matches.

Chelsea have previously considered building a new stadium at either Earl's Court or White City, while they also wanted to redevelop Battersea power station. But with no realistic proposition in the area, the only option is to redevelop their current home, despite the numerous difficulties.

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Twickenham Stadium has been mentioned as an alternative

The club commissioned a study of Fulham Broadway and Stamford Bridge to look at the possibility of upgrading the surrounding area along with the stadium.

“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,” said the club in a statement. “Mr Abramovich has appointed a professional team to assess, in more detail, the feasibility of expanding the existing stadium capacity at Stamford Bridge grounds.

“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. Technical solutions for stadium capacity expansion are being investigated initially.

“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,” said the club in a statement. “Mr Abramovich has appointed a professional team to assess, in more detail, the feasibility of expanding the existing stadium capacity at Stamford Bridge grounds.

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Wembley Stadium could be used

“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. 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. 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.”

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