Chelsea are in preliminary discussions with Swiss architectural firm Herzog & de Meuron over plans to expand Stamford Bridge to nearer 60,000, reports The Guardian.
The Basel-based firm are best known for their work on Beijing's 91,000-seater Bird's Nest Olympic stadium and Bayern Munich's Allianz Arena. They will work with Chelsea officials to design a revamp of their current west London home.
Roman Abramovich has been trying to expand Chelsea's 41,837 capacity for years and has played around with the possibility of relocating. Sites at Earls Court, White City and Battersea Power Station have all been considered before the Russian oligarch ploughed on with plans to expand Stamford Bridge.
Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands will be working in conjunction with the firm to come up with initial designs for the bigger stadium. However, Stamford Bridge has serious social and ecological problems holding it back from growth.
A railway line and the busy Fulham Road boxes it in while nearby real estate is some of the most expensive in the country. But it seems that an expansion is now more likely than a permanent move out of the Fulham Broadway area.
Financial fair play
Chelsea have made it their priority to expand their stadium in order to keep up with European and Premier League rivals. Uefa's financial fair play regulations have also made it important for clubs to generate as much matchday revenue as possible.
Arsenal's Emirates Stadium seats over 60,000 and generates over £3 million a game while Old Trafford seats more than 75,000. Even West Ham will out sell Chelsea in 2016/17 when they finally make a move to a 54,000 capacity Olympic Stadium in Stratford.
The Blues are reportedly considering a relocation to Twickenham while the renovation work transforms Stamford Bridge but no date is set for completion.
Chelsea's statement at the end of last season confirmed their intent to divulge how viable an expansion would be.
They said: "The study will also assess the feasibility of an expansion of the stadium within the existing historic site boundaries, potentially to enlarge its capacity, enhance its facilities and improve the movement of people and vehicles on match and non-matchdays."
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