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Chelsea's stadium move plans blocked

ESPN staff
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Chelsea fans have a say in the club's future © PA Photos
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Chelsea's hopes of building a new super-stadium on the site of the Earls Court Exhibition Centre have been dashed, after the local council granted planning permission for more than 7,500 new homes on the site.

With Chelsea officials eager to explore new ways to generate revenue in their bid to fall in line with UEFA's Financial Fair Play rules, club officials were hoping to persuade the local authorities to grant them permission to move from Stamford Bridge to a plush new stadium in nearby Earls Court.

However, those plans have been blocked for good after the announcement of a housing development scheme, with Hammersmith and Fulham council suggesting the reigning European champions would be wise to stay at their current home.

"There really is no place for Chelsea within the Earls Court redevelopment and it remains the council's firm belief that the future of Chelsea is best served at their historic home," Council leader Nicholas Botterill was quoted as saying.

A statement from the Council read: "The Earls Court landowners, H&F Council and Capco, are committed to the regeneration of the Earls Court Opportunity Area in line with the masterplan.

"It is the firm intention of the two landowners to proceed with this landmark regeneration, creating 9,500 permanent new jobs and around 36,000 temporary construction jobs.

"Neither of the two landowners believes that the inclusion of a football stadium in the scheme would offer the regeneration benefits of the existing masterplan."

This is a second hammer blow to Chelsea's hopes of securing a move from Stamford Bridge, after a Malaysian firm beat them to the site of the old Battersea Power Station last year, and the obstacles to any potential ground move do not end with the search for a site to build a stadium.

The club has yet to resolve a dispute with the club supporters who own part of the Stamford Bridge side as part of their Chelsea pitch owner's share scheme, meaning a prolonged stay at their historic 42,000-capacity home seems inevitable in the immediate future.

This announcement will also fuel speculation that Stamford Bridge may be re-branded, with a sponsorship agreement for the stadium rumoured to be one of the options on the table for Chelsea officials.

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