Chelsea application for 60,000-seat Stamford Bridge stadium to be heard on Wednesday as new ground nears

The Premier League leaders are looking to redevelop their current home rather than move away and have been recommended for approval by Hammersmith and Fulham Council

Wednesday 11 January 2017 08:47
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Stamford Bridge looks set to undergo a £500m revamp to expand its capacity to 60,000
Stamford Bridge looks set to undergo a £500m revamp to expand its capacity to 60,000

Chelsea will hope to move a step closer to redeveloping Stamford Bridge when Hammersmith and Fulham Council hear a planning application on Wednesday, but must do without club captain John Terry for Saturday's trip to defending Premier League champions Leicester.

The league leaders have decided developing their current home, rather than relocating elsewhere, is their preferred option as they look to provide a 60,000-seater stadium with a capacity more akin to other top-flight clubs.

Hammersmith and Fulham Council has already recommended the application be approved, with a formal meeting scheduled of the planning and development control committee at 7pm on Wednesday.

Chelsea found out on Tuesday evening that Terry would have to serve a one-match ban after the club's appeal against his sending off in the FA Cup tie against Peterborough was rejected.

Terry, making his first start since the EFL Cup exit at West Ham in October and first appearance since November, was adjudged to be last man when he fouled Lee Angol and was shown a straight red card by referee Kevin Friend in Sunday's tie.

The club appealed but discovered on Tuesday that had been unsuccessful, meaning Terry will miss the Leicester match.

A statement from the Football Association read: "John Terry will serve a one-match suspension with immediate effect after his wrongful dismissal claim was unsuccessful, following an Independent Regulatory Commission hearing.

"The Chelsea defender was sent off for denying an obvious goalscoring opportunity during The FA Cup game against Peterborough United on Sunday [8 January 2017]."

Terry had contested he deserved a red card, saying on Instagram "I didn't touch leeangol.", while Blues boss Antonio Conte also felt the officials had made the wrong call.

Former England captain Terry was 36 last month and his time at Stamford Bridge could be nearing an end, with his current contract set to expire in the summer having signed a 12-month extension last May.

Conte insisted the decision on the future of Terry, who made his first-team debut more than 18 years ago, will be made with the club and was happy with the captain who is "helping a lot in the changing room."

Terry was making his first appearance since November

Chelsea's redevelopment project is to be funded by owner Roman Abramovich, to an estimated cost of some £500million.

The proximity of underground and overground railway lines are one of the biggest challenges for such a huge project in an area of west London which offers little wiggle room.

The Blues believe the history of Stamford Bridge is with the site, rather than the stadium itself.

The build would be complex and involve excavation, with the plan to lower the arena into the ground to achieve the capacity on a 12-acre site.

Redeveloping Chelsea's Stamford Bridge will cost in excess of £500m 

Stamford Bridge's capacity is 41,663, making it the seventh biggest in the Premier League.

Nevetheless, it falls well short of Manchester United's 76,000-seater Old Trafford, while Arsenal, Manchester City, West Ham, Sunderland and Liverpool all now boast bigger grounds.

Chelsea had previously looked at sites including Battersea Power Station for a new stadium, but concluded their ideal arena could be created at their present location.

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Should it be necessary for the Blues to look for a temporary home while work is carried out, Twickenham has been mooted as a contender for a part-time base, although Wembley could also be a candidate.

However, London rivals Tottenham are set to occupy the national stadium for at least the 2017-18 campaign as development on their own new ground is completed.

PA

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