Stamford Bridge could yet remain home of the Blues.
Chelsea want Hammersmith and Fulham Council to begin talks about redeveloping Stamford Bridge after the authority offered to help the team remain in west London.
The council released a statement this morning reiterating their desire for the Blues to stay put in the wake of the club’s failed bid to purchase the freehold of the current ground.
It was seen as a precursor to a move to a new 60,000-seater stadium but Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich was unable to convince the Chelsea Pitch Owners to hand back the shares.
Chelsea, who have yet to decide whether to move, have been frustrated in their efforts to expand Stamford Bridge by a meaningful capacity at a cost that makes economic sense.
They would consider relocating to Earls Court or White City, which would keep them in the borough, while Battersea is a possible destination outside Hammersmith and Fulham.
The council said in a statement: “We reaffirm our desire to see Chelsea FC remain in the borough and our commitment to help the club to remain at its historic home of Stamford Bridge.
“We recognise all our clubs will need greater capacity to accommodate growth in their fan bases and that new Financial Fair Play rules necessitate generating extra match-day revenue to remain competitive with the leading English and European teams.
“The council now proposes to examine whether there are planning options to expand Stamford Bridge to accommodate a larger capacity, recognising that such a project must be economically viable, benefit local businesses and not unreasonably affect residents.
“We look forward to working closely with Chelsea FC and all local stakeholders as soon as possible to examine the options of redeveloping Stamford Bridge.”
A Chelsea spokesman said in response: “Chelsea FC welcomes the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham’s commitment to see the club stay in the borough and importantly their recognition of our need for greater capacity at Stamford Bridge.
“We want to explore promptly with LBHF how they propose helping us address the club’s current problem of having substantially reduced capacity for big games.
“We will be happy to meet borough officials to discuss this further and especially their desire to see us stay at Stamford Bridge.”
The ‘Say No CPO’ campaign, which spearheaded opposition to Abramovich’s bid last week, were “delighted” with the council’s intervention.
They have urged the local authority and Chelsea to “exhaust all possibilities” that might allow the club to stay put.
They added: “We’re sure that most fans will welcome the chance to see Chelsea Football Club remain at their historic home.”