Chelsea’s new stadium planning permission expired on Tuesday, March 31.
The club released a statement on their official website a few days ago, saying: “Chelsea football club acknowledges that the planning permission we obtained for a new stadium expires on 31st March 2020.”
“We will continue to consider our options for a new stadium, should economic conditions improve.”
The last part of the statement is an important point here.
There had been obstacles during the three years the City of London gave permission to redevelop Stamford Bridge into a new 60,000-seat ground.
From Roman Abramovich’s visa issue due to tension between the UK and Russia, post-Brexit economy uncertainty.
Now the potential global economic crisis amid the health pandemic has pushed the idea of Stamford Bridge redevelopment even further away.
Chelsea are left far behind in matchday revenue
But how badly do Chelsea need a bigger stadium?
The Stamford Bridge is currently ranked ninth in capacity among Premier League clubs’ stadiums with 40,834 seat capacity.
All the other ‘big clubs’ in the Premier League have bigger stadiums which put them at an advantage over Chelsea in revenue.
According to data from Deloitte Football Money League, 15% of Chelsea’s revenue in 2018/19 (£66.6million out of total £452.2m) came from matchday revenue which is mainly from ticket sales.
It pales in comparison to other clubs such as Arsenal who earned £96.2m in matchday revenue, Tottenham Hotspur (£81.5m), Liverpool (£83.3m) and Manchester United (£106.3m).
And it was not due to a lack of match-going fans. Chelsea had an average league game attendance of 40,445, just shy of the Stamford Bridge’s full capacity.
For comparison, Arsenal whose Emirates Stadium’s full capacity is 60,704 managed to record an average league attendance of 59,897.
Surely, if Arsenal could fill up their stadium, Chelsea who have a similar stature could replicate the numbers.
Redeveloping Stamford Bridge may hinder Chelsea from spending big in transfer windows but extra £20m on a yearly basis might come handy in the long term.