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By Martin Graham | 3rd Mar 2023

Chelsea fans could be watching their team play elsewhere for the foreseeable future as reports have emerged of the club’s ownership preparing a £1.5 billion renovation effort for Stamford Bridge.

The Fulham-based stadium, built in 1877 is a 40,000 capacity stadium and the eleventh largest stadium in England. It has been home to the Chelsea Football Club men’s team since their founding in 1905 and has undergone only two major renovations in that 118-year period.

The first was in 1905, when Chelsea made it their home ground and the second was in 1998, a few years before Roman Abramovich took over the club.

It is for this reason that the Russian oligarch, forced to sell the club because of his ties to President Vladimir Putin, made sure to include a clause for the buyers to commit to renovating the stadium in the first 10 years of their ownership.

That clause looks like it will be implemented early as the Todd Boehly-led consortium is reported to be readying a £1.5 billion renovation fund to “make the stadium one of the best in the world”.

This follows the over £600 million they have invested in personnel in under one year of ownership and shows their commitment to seeing the club progress according to the promises they made to the fans upon its acquisition.

Despite being a 40,000 capacity stadium, Stamford Bridge has once hosted 82,000 people all the way back in 1935 when Chelsea and Arsenal faced off in a high stakes first division match.

The Daily Telegraph also reports that they are considering demolishing the current Stamford Bridge to build a brand new football edifice on the same grounds. It also reports that among the upper echelons of the club’s management, demolishing the current structure appears to be the most popular choice.

Whatever their decision – as it remains unclear at the time of these reports – the club’s ownership have set a timeline for 2030 to be done with the renovations or rebuild but their start date is unknown.

Jonathan Goldstein, a member of Chelsea’s board, is the man in charge of the proposed project. He is joined by Todd Boehly’s woman at the helm of planning and development for his baseball club, the American Major League Baseball franchise LA Dodgers, Janet Marie Smith.

Chelsea Pitch Owners [CPO], the independent body set up by the club to manage the grounds, have already been contacted by Goldstein. They also intend to present a bid of £50m to buy Stamford Bridge’s surroundings because they have factored it into their redevelopment project.

The 1.2 acre stretch of land surrounding Stamford Bridge currently belongs to community housing association Stoll, and it remains unclear whether Chelsea will be successful with their proposed bid.

Martin Graham is an MFF sports writer

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