Gourlay calls for Chelsea catch-up

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Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay says that the Blues desperately need to fix their stadium situation if they have any hope of keeping up with the big Barclays Premier League clubs.

The side attempted to purchase the freehold to the land from the Chelsea Pitch Owners (CPO) last month, and while they accumulated 62% of shareholders votes letting the sale through, the Blues fell short of the 75% needed to acquire Stamford Bridge.

And while fans still appear undecided on whether Chelsea should move away from their current west London home, Gourlay insists that they have no other choice if they want to compete with the best clubs in the world.

"We have one of smallest stadiums in Europe," Gourlay told the International Football Arena in Zurich.

"We have corporate hospitality that is second to none and 30,000 season-ticket holders. But we have a stadium slightly larger than 40,000 which drops to 38,000 on Champions League nights. We have to find a solution."

Gourlay insisted that Chelsea have tried every avenue to stay at Stamford Bridge, but see no other option than to move to a new home and increase their revenue.

"We have outgrown our stadium and tried every way possible to extend capacity," he explained.

"We need a 60-65,000 stadium. We have the eighth biggest stadium in England and the 61st biggest in Europe,” he explained.

"But when you look at the activity of stadiums planned for next few years, we will fall out of top 75 which can only be restrictive to the football club. In the meantime, we continue on our conversations to see if there is any way at all to extend Stamford Bridge.”

Gourlay also revealed that a naming rights sponsor will be found for the club’s current ground in order to help bring in more money, as Chelsea aim to comply with FIFA’s financial fair play rules.

"We hope to make an announcement on naming rights for Stamford Bridge within the next six to eight months. It would make a big step because we have to drive up the revenues."

When asked what Chelsea would do after the 'no' vote won on purchasing the freehold from the CPO, he said: "This is a time for reflection, to sit down with the owner and discuss the situation.

"We thought we made a very good proposal to the CPO shareholders. They decided on a 'no' vote. We got 62% but it's time to discuss it with Roman and the board. We have been very transparent in terms of venues."

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