Bridge buy-back proposal defeated

Chelsea have been defeated in their bid to buy back the freehold of Stamford Bridge.

At Thursday’s all-important extraordinary general meeting of Chelsea Pitch Owners’ shareholders, it was announced that 61.6% of the 5,796 votes cast were in favour of the proposal – significantly less than the 75% required for it to be approved.

The mooted buy-back by owner Roman Abramovich was seen as a precursor to the club selling its current SW6 home and building a new 60,000-capacity stadium.

A number of possible sites are believed to have been considered, including Earl’s Court and Battersea Nine Elms.

There is also a potentially viable piece of land in White City, close to the Loftus Road home of QPR, who are also interested in the site.

QPR’s sudden serious interest in building a new ground in the west London area, where available land is at a premium, appears to have been a major factor in Chelsea’s determination to buy back the Bridge.

CPO bought the freehold in 1993 after being set up to safeguard the club’s financial security and avoid ownership of the ground falling into the hands of property developers

Despite Blues captain John Terry and manager Andre Villas-Boas publicly backing the controversial proposal, many fans remained sceptical and several supporters groups united to try to convince shareholders of CPO to vote against it.

Following the outcome of the vote, the club released a statement saying it was “naturally disappointed with the result.”

The statement added: “A large number of fans supported our proposals but it was always going to be difficult when we had to have a 75% majority of voting shareholders accepting them.

“We approached this process with transparency and the will to do what is best for Chelsea Football Club and while we will remain as ambitious as ever, this decision could slow down our progress.”

Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck said: “Obviously we are disappointed but we recognise and we respect totally that the shareholders of Chelsea Pitch Owners have spoken.

“We will meet with Mr Abramovich and the rest of the board and we will decide what action, if any, we will take going forward.”