28 Oct 2011

Chelsea fail in first attempt to buy back home ground

6:05 am on 28 October 2011

The Chelsea football club's attempt to buy back the freehold of Stamford Bridge as the first step of an eventual move to a new 60,000-seat stadium has ended in failure.

At an extraordinary general meeting of the Chelsea Pitch Owners (CPO) group - the body of fans which own shares in Stamford Bridge - only 61.6 per cent of 5796 voters were in favour of selling the ground back to the club.

That left Chelsea 13.4 per cent short of the necessary 75 per cent threshold needed to green light the sale.

The vote came after a bitter campaign between those in favour of the move to re-acquire the land sold to the CPO group in the 1990s and those who oppose it.

Chelsea officials say buying back Stamford Bridge is essential if the club is to realise its hopes of eventually moving to a new stadium at a different location in London such as Earls Court, Battersea or White City.

However a campaign group, Say No CPO, had objected to the buyback, accusing the club of a lack of transparency and rushing through the vote.

Campaigners also called for CPO shareholders to have their stakes transferred to any new Chelsea stadium.