Chelsea to sell naming rights to Stamford Bridge

 

Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay hopes to reveal a naming rights sponsor for Stamford Bridge before next season.

Gourlay made the announcement yesterday when he also admitted the Blues needed to move to a bigger stadium if they were to fulfil their ambitions of being a European force.

Chelsea are currently exploring their options regarding their future headquarters after shareholders in the Chelsea Pitch Owners company last month rejected a proposal to buy back the land upon which Stamford Bridge is built.

That set back the club's hopes of moving away from a stadium Gourlay believes they have "outgrown".

In the meantime the club are looking at extra revenue streams, including renaming the stadium they have called home for over a century, as they look to comply with UEFA's impending "financial fair play" rules.

"We hope to make an announcement on naming rights for Stamford Bridge within the next six to eight months," Gourlay told the International Football Arena in Zurich.

"It would make a big step because we have to drive up the revenues."

He added: "We have outgrown our stadium and tried every way possible to extend capacity.

"We need a 60-65,000 stadium. We have the eighth biggest stadium in England and the 61st biggest in Europe.

"But when you look at the activity of stadiums planned for next few years, we will fall out of top 75 which can only be restrictive to the football club.

"In the meantime we continue on our conversations to see if there is any way at all to extend Stamford Bridge."

Gourlay insisted it was imperative a solution was found but said no decision had yet been made as to whether a fresh vote would be called at next month's AGM.

"We have one of smallest stadiums in Europe," he added.

"We have corporate hospitality that is second to none and 30,000 season ticket holders. But we have a stadium slightly larger than 40,000 which drops to 38,000 on Champions League nights.

"We have to find a solution."

While last month's vote was viewed as a humiliating defeat for Blues owner Roman Abramovich in some quarters, Gourlay said he was determined to resolve the matter during upcoming talks.

"This is a time for reflection, to sit down with the owner and discuss the situation," he added.

"We thought we made a very good proposal to the CPO shareholders. They decided on a 'no' vote.

"We got 62% but it's time to discuss it with Roman and the board. We have been very transparent in terms of venues."

PA

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