The new Stamford Bridge will be the most expensive stadium in Europe. ChelseaFC / Herzog & de Meuron)
Few things have got in the way of the Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich since he took over the reins of Chelsea in 2003.
His transformation of the London club was such that he became one of the leaders of European football, being the team with more titles accumulated since his arrival in England.
The sun’s rays and daylight will be seriously affected ”
Five Premier leagues, four FA cups, three League Cups, one Champions League and one Europa League adorn the showcases at Stamford Bridge, a stadium that may be the only stone in the shoe that continues to bother Abramovich.
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The home of Chelsea has been outdated in time and plans to remodel and expand its capacity are already finalized and approved by the mayor of London.
Chelsea became the most successful club in English football since the arrival of Abramovich in 2003.
But the construction work has not yet been able to start because a family claims their right to receive sunlight at home.
With the surname Crosthwaite, the family has lived in their home for 50 years and since then they have not had problems to live with their football neighbors.
Until they learned about the stadium’s new expansion plans and decided to file a petition in May because they are convinced that the new camp for more than 60,000 people will leave several parts of their home under a permanent shadow.
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has invested more than $ 1 billion since joining the club in 2003.
Chelsea has had to ask the municipal authorities to deal with the matter and on January 15 the councilors of Hammersmith and Fulham will meet to decide the next step to follow.
Construction is paralyzed and there is a risk that the remodeling project of what will be the most expensive stadium in Europe will never be a reality.
Chelsea has tried to reach an agreement with the family, but a compensation of six figures, plus take care of the legal costs, has failed to persuade them to give up the “right to light” at home.
The back of Stamford Bridge is located near the home of the Crosthwaite family (Photo: BBC Sport).
The daughter of the family, Rose, explained that her house is perhaps the one that is closer to the stadium, even though it is on the other side of a railway line and in a different municipality.
“The sun’s rays and daylight will be seriously affected,” he said.
“It is considered that it will have an unacceptable and harmful impact for the municipality of Kesington and Chelsea”, where the house is located and which has repeatedly expressed its rejection of the project.
The family has assured through their lawyers that they do not oppose the remodeling of the stadium, but they suggest that the tier, which is causing the problem, is “reduced in size or redesigned so that it does not cause interference”.
The remodeling plans for the new stadium will encompass the terrain outlined in red in the image, which includes a road that will connect the field with the Fulham Broadway metro station.
ChelseaFC / Herzog & de Meuron)
One of the points in his argument is the “disproportionate amount of hospitality seats” that occupy more space than the places traditionally assigned to most fans.
They highlight that there will be about 17,000 seats for hospitality, 28% of the total capacity of the new field, which is much more than 16% that Emirates has, the Arsenal stadium.
Chelsea reiterates that the plans have the necessary permits and has not neglected any aspect.
In a consultation carried out with some 13,000 residents of the area received a 97.5% approval and has already compensated those owners who have been affected by losing their “right to light”.
The difference is that the house of the Crosthwaite family is the only one that is directly in front of the stadium and therefore is the most affected.
The new stadium was designed by the same architects who were responsible for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Stadium, known as “Bird’s Nest”.
ChelseaFC / Herzog & De Meuron)
Chelsea also ensures that the new stadium “will boost the contribution they provide to the economy and cultural and social services to the community”, including some US $ 8 million in educational programs, US $ 10 million in improving infrastructure and more than US $ 20 million for the benefit of businesses in the area by attracting 2.4 million people per year.
From the club warn that these factors can serve as argument for the municipality in case they decide to implement the forced eviction of the family and acquire the land in dispute, something they can do legally if they consider that it will benefit the economy, the environment and the welfare of the area.
A resource that family lawyers are aware exists, but ask to clarify if it is something more “convenient” than “indispensable”.
Abramovich has wanted for years to increase the capacity of Stamford Bridge, be it with the construction of a new stadium or extending the current one.
After failing in several attempts to move the club, he finally managed to develop a project to completely remodel the stadium that was built in 1876 and has been renovated three times.
The Chelsea stadium has a capacity for 41,663 fans, far from the size of the fields of its main rivals.
Stamford Bridge is able to accommodate 41,000 people, seventh with more capacity of the Premier League, but is far from the more than 75,000 people receiving Old Trafford (Manchester United), the 60,000 Emirates (Arsenal) and White Hart Lane (Tottenham) or more than 50,000 from the stadium in London (West Ham), Etihad (Manchester City) or Anfield (Liverpool).
To achieve the green light to move forward with the project, Chelsea would play in their new home from the season 2024-2025.