You may have seen the alarmist headlines from The Sun and the Express and the like. Or you may have not, in which case count yourself lucky and just know that they are out there, the alarmist headlines that is. “Life’s a pitch, Rom: Chelsea’s £500m Stamford Bridge revamp is under threat as Roman Abramovich must talk pitch owners into a deal”, blares The Sun, ahead of today’s Chelsea Pitch Owners (CPO) meeting at 11am local time.
But while there’s technically a sequence of events out there that probably would scupper the stadium plans, no such thing will occur today. Or in the future, for that matter. Keeping Chelsea and any new stadium at Stamford Bridge (the area or land or freehold itself) was, after all, the entire purpose behind setting up the CPO back in the day.
Journalist Dan Levene wrote about the agenda for today’s CPO meeting a few weeks ago for Eurosport, and I encourage you to read that for the full background. Essentially, a vote will be held about an option to extend the club’s lease agreement with the CPO for the freehold to 999 years. The vote is not about the extension itself, it’s about making that option available to the club (i.e. Abramovich and the Chelsea Board). The CPO board have advised members to vote ‘Yes’.
The only possible opposition to all this could be from people who bought CPO shares with a view to sell them for a profit, but the point of the CPO is that the fans own the shares, especially after the fiasco of Abramovich trying to outmaneuver the CPO back in 2011 when a stadium move was supposedly the only possible way forward — of course, without approval of the CPO, the name “Chelsea Football Club” cannot be used anywhere else other than this exact location.
The idea behind extending the lease is to provide a stable base for investment (both literally and figuratively) either for Abramovich’s millions or any financiers he may bring in to help pay for the new stadium.
This is a good thing. It’s not a bad thing and it’s certainly not a scary thing. Nothing’s under threat, in fact, this option should pave the way for a long and happy relationship between Chelsea and the Chelsea Pitch Owners, just as it was envisioned back in 1993.