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Roman Abramovich's Stamford Bridge redevelopment: The key questions

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Will Chelsea relinquish their lead? (1:19)

The FC crew don't see Chelsea losing their advantage, as long as they don't stray from what got them to this point. (1:19)

The planning application for Roman Abramovich's proposed £600 million redevelopment of Stamford Bridge will go before Hammersmith and Fulham Council on Wednesday.

ESPN FC takes a look at some of the key questions surrounding the project:

Why is this so significant?

Chelsea's new home can't become a reality without council approval, and Abramovich's team of experts have been working towards this day for more than a year.

Their planning application for a new 60,000-seater stadium was originally submitted to the council in November 2015, but due to a variety of reasons it has taken until now to get it in front of the Planning and Development Control Committee.

What caused the delay?

Planning applications as big as this one simply take time. There are lots of aspects to consider beyond simply knocking down the old Stamford Bridge and building the new one, many of which relate to how the construction project and completed stadium impact the surrounding area.

Several revisions were made to the original planning application last year, including additional tree planting, minor tweaks to the stadium design, the introduction of a combined heat and power (CHP) plant and a reduction of parking spaces on site.

Abramovich's planning team have also made certain pledges in order to make the application more amenable to the council, as part of what is known as a section 106 agreement.

These include £6m in financial payments to mitigate the impact of stadium development, a £3.75m commuted sum towards affordable housing, a £12.06m contribution towards community initiatives and services, and some £50m in construction contracts made available to local businesses, suppliers and traders.

It is in Chelsea's interests to make sure all bases are covered in the planning phase of the project, as any legal challenge raised later could result in damaging delays and significant additional costs.

If approval is granted, when will the stadium be built?

The original aim was for 2016-17 to be Chelsea's last season at the current Stamford Bridge, with work to begin on site in the summer of 2017. That clearly will not happen now, and the revised estimate is that the Blues will move into a temporary home in time for the start of the 2018-19 campaign.

Construction of the new stadium is expected to take three years, meaning that on the current schedule Chelsea's new home would be ready for the 2021-22 season.

Where will Chelsea go in the meantime?

No formal announcement will be made until planning approval on the Stamford Bridge redevelopment is granted, but Chelsea have been exploring a number of possibilities. Because of its location and sheer size, Wembley is far and away the likeliest destination.

Last summer a club source confirmed to ESPN FC that the London Stadium was also on Chelsea's list of potential temporary homes, but the catalogue of problems that West Ham have faced since moving into the former Olympic venue -- not to mention the ugly clashes that marred the Blues' last visit to Stratford for an EFL Cup tie in October -- make it an unattractive option.

Twickenham was also considered, but the strength of opposition from local residents meant playing in the home of English rugby was a non-starter.

Could anything else hold up the project?

Another pressing piece of business for Abramovich is to come to an agreement with Chelsea Pitch Owners (CPO), formed in 1993 to safeguard Chelsea's future at Stamford Bridge. The group owns both the freehold of the stadium and the naming rights of the club, meaning that no redevelopment can happen without their approval.

Abramovich and the CPO have not always been on good terms. Back in October 2011 Chelsea's owner attempted to buy the freehold in order to pave the way for a permanent move to a new stadium. His proposal fell short of the 75 percent majority vote needed to pass, and the acrimonious nature of the episode left a bad taste for both parties.

With the Russian's plan now to keep Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, there is renewed hope that broader interests are aligned. He does not need to buy the freehold to complete the project, though it is unclear whether he will make another attempt to acquire it anyway.

The CPO will hold their Annual General Meeting on Jan. 27, and one item up for vote will be whether to give the board an option to offer Chelsea a significant extension on their current lease of Stamford Bridge, which currently has 180 years left to run at a peppercorn rent. Such an extension would remove the most powerful motivation for Abramovich to own the freehold.

Will the new stadium be worth all this hassle?

In pure financial terms, yes. Abramovich is bankrolling the stadium project himself, but it is Chelsea who will feel the benefit of their new home.

Increasing capacity from around 41,500 to 60,000 -- and particularly doubling the hospitality numbers -- will significantly boost matchday revenue at a time when many Premier League rivals are pursuing their own stadium projects.

A bold new Stamford Bridge also enhances Chelsea's claim to be considered one of Europe's elite clubs. The striking design, inspired by Westminster Abbey and devised by Herzog & de Meuron -- the renowned architects behind Beijing's Bird's Nest Stadium and Bayern Munich's Allianz Arena -- has aspirations to be considered an iconic London monument and will be instantly recognisable the world over.