Blues exploring Bridge stay
Thursday, 10 May 2012 16:49
Blues exploring Bridge stay

Chelsea's chief executive insists the club's interest in Battersea Power Station does not mean they have given up on Stamford Bridge.

The Blues have announced ambitious plans to transform the Grade II* listed power station into a 60,000-capacity ground and have made a formal bid for the 39-acre site.

The move follows an unsuccessful attempt in October to convince the Chelsea Pitch Owners group to return the freehold of Stamford Bridge.

But Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay claims no decision had been taken to relocate and a redevelopment of Stamford Bridge remains a possibility.

"What we've all got to do is keep our feet on the ground as far as Battersea is concerned," said Gourlay.

"When we met with the Chelsea Pitch Owners shareholders back in October, we indicated that we were doing everything in our power to stay at Stamford Bridge, to extend Stamford Bridge, and we've looked at potential opportunities of a new-build around the Stamford Bridge area.

"Not only does that cause us issues with economics, it also causes us major challenges around potential planning applications and all the rest.

"We do feel, as a club, that to stay among the elite, we've got to have a bigger stadium.


"And one of the things that we discussed with the shareholders was to look at opportunities within a three-mile perimeter of the current site at Stamford Bridge. One of them is Battersea.

"There's a long way to go, there are other bidders in there, and we just need to see where it goes from there.

"But if we didn't enter into that bidding process then we would have lost that as an opportunity if we need it one day down the line.

"We've got to be in a position to make the move quickly.

"But we've still not said no to Stamford Bridge and we're still looking at other alternatives and are working very hard behind the scenes to achieve that."

Gourlay would not be drawn on whether he had met with a member of the Qatari ruling family, Khalid Al Thani, in order to secure additional investment for the Battersea development.

"There are a number of meetings that go on around the world, really, a number of friends, a number of partnerships," he added.

"I wouldn't go reading too much into any of that."

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