Chelsea stadium row rumbles on

 

Chelsea's potential stadium move was at the centre of more controversy
today after another dramatic and stormy meeting of Chelsea Pitch Owners.

The scandal over "dodgy" shares sold in CPO - the fan-led group which has owned the freehold of Stamford Bridge since the 1990s - was compounded this afternoon when they appeared to help swing a crucial vote that might have limited the power of shareholders to do just that.

The sale of shares in CPO had been suspended since Chelsea failed to convince the company to sell them back the land beneath their home at an extraordinary general meeting in October, something they need to do before they can move to a new stadium.

The build-up to that meeting saw CPO sell 1,686 more shares than they were entitled, something that provoked outrage among opponents of the club's plans.

There were accusations associates of Chelsea employees, including those of chairman Bruce Buck, had engaged in - perfectly legal - bulk buying in a bid to sway that vote and an internal investigation followed.

CPO announced they were powerless to revoke any oversold shares but promised to act to prevent a repeat, including attempting to reduce the voting rights of all shareholders from 100 to 10 votes, regardless of how many shares they held.

But that proposal was defeated at today's EGM, realising the worst fears of the club's opponents.

That is because CPO shareholders also voted to reopen the sale of shares, effectively giving the green light to anyone to engage in bulk buying and influence potential future votes on the fate of Stamford Bridge.

There were audible gasps of "What?!" as the results were announced, with a leading opponent of Chelsea's plans, Paul Todd, angrily declaring: "I want to find out how many illegal shares voted."

Other shareholders had earlier voiced their concerns about just such an outcome during an EGM that at times descended into the kind of public slanging match that dogged the last two CPO meetings.

There were calls to adjourn the meeting and hold a fresh one to consider solely the issue of voting power before the sale of shares was reopened.

But those calls were ignored, a move that proved decisive and sparked accusations CPO chairman Steve Frankham had used his proxy votes to defeat the resolution.

But he insisted he had voted in favour as many times as he was permitted, pointing to a turnout of less than a third as the reason behind the outcome.

He told Press Association Sport: "How many shares voted? 4,000? We have 15,000 shares out there. I urge Chelsea fans to vote."

Another resolution was passed authorising the CPO board to consider measures to prevent new shareholders attempting to profiteer from buying shares.

But Frankham admitted he could not give a cast-iron guarantee that would also deny those with links to the club the chance to buy in bulk, saying: "We will endeavour to make sure that doesn't happen."

Chelsea, who have denied any wrongdoing throughout the stadium saga, have always maintained they have yet to decide whether to leave Stamford Bridge.

However, they recently lost their battle to buy Battersea Power Station and turn it into a new 60,000-seater ground.

PA

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links