Uncertainty over Stamford Bridge rages as Chelsea decide on Craven Cottage

Chelsea are not considering a Craven Cottage ground-share with Fulham as uncertainty over Stamford Bridge future drags on.

Amid considerations for a temporary stadium to play in during Stamford Bridge’s potential rebuild, Chelsea have dismissed Craven Cottage as an option, according to a report in The Athletic. The nearby Fulham ground, with a projected capacity of 29,600, is considered too small and lacking in corporate amenities.

Chelsea, if they are to relocate, are looking for a larger stadium than Stamford Bridge which has a capacity of just over 40,000.

Potential alternatives like Twickenham and West Ham’s London Stadium face resident and supporter opposition, which rule them out. Wembley gains traction due to precedent and size flexibility. Even if Brent Council permits a maximum of 62,000 fans, the number mentioned in the final agreement when Tottenham were tenants in 2017-18 and 2018-19, it would suffice Chelsea’s needs.

However, Todd Boehly and Clearlake emphasise feasibility and a total rebuild of Stamford Bridge is contingent on the team’s evaluation of site possibilities, timeframe and costs. Whereas, a stand-by-stand remodeling also remains a compromise option. The acquisition of Stoll Mansions, a 1.2-acre site adjacent to Bridge which houses military veterans, provides flexibility for future redevelopment. Chelsea aims to possess the land by the end of 2025, potentially utilizing it for club offices, retail or hospitality facilities, which would enhance capacity within the stadium.

There are three potential options that are available to Chelsea and among them acquiring a 40-acre plot near Brompton Cemetery might be an attractive option, offering substantial space for redevelopment. However, the path is fraught with difficulties as Hammersmith and Fulham Council remains against the idea of building a football stadium in that location which housed the Earls Court Exhibition Centre until 2014.

Moreover, it is reported that Chelsea are yet to enter into any fresh negotiations with Earls Court Development Company (ECDC) as they want to keep all options on the table after the ECDC made it explicitly clear back in March that there is no scope for a “football stadium in the Earls Court masterplan”.