What he wanted was the was to build a new stadium at Battersea Power Station. But those plans appear to have ended today as administrators announced that Abramovich had been outbid by a joint bid by two Malaysian companies SP Setia and Sime Darby.
A statement from Ernst & Young read:
“Following an extensive global marketing campaign, undertaken by Ernst & Young Real Estate Corporate Finance and Knight Frank LLP, the Joint Administrators are pleased to announce that on Wednesday 6 June 2012 they entered into an exclusivity agreement with SP Setia and Sime Darby and are working towards a timely exchange and completion of the site and associated land.”
Chelsea’s plans had been to turn the Battersea site into a state-of-the-art 60,000-seater ground but those plans appeared to have be ended.
Chelsea released a statement on not winning the bid saying:
“Chelsea Football Club has been informed that the administrators of the Battersea Power Station site have entered into an exclusive agreement with another party to carry out their due diligence.
“We will all be able to speak with more confidence about the site’s future once the exclusivity period is over and the preferred bidder has been able to assimilate their risks properly and confirm the bid.
“We are disappointed not to be selected as the preferred bidder for Battersea Power Station, as we believe we can create an iconic and architecturally significant stadium on the site in a scheme which is commercially viable and of great benefit to the Wandsworth community and London generally.
“We have been clear throughout this process that Battersea is one of a limited number of options the club is considering.”
It will be interesting to see that RA and Chelsea do next. The club has repeatedly said that it is not economically viable to expand the capacity of Stamford Bridge by another 15-20,000 seats.
But with Uefa’s Financial Fair Play rules on the horizon, staying at Stamford Bridge cost Chelsea tens of millions of pounds in matchday revenues every season compared to what rivals Man United and Arsenal can generate.
Chelsea need a bigger ground. The only question is where that will be.