Chelsea have announced that the proposed redevelopment of Stamford Bridge has been put on hold due to “the current unfavourable investment climate.”
No further design and planning work will take place on the project, which was greenlit by Hammersmith and Fulham Council as well as Mayor of London Sadiq Khan but has since run into a number of difficulties.
Costs have reportedly ballooned somewhere in the region of £1 billion, and while half of that figure was set to be covered by Roman Abramovich, the other £500m was expected to be financed by loans from investment banks.
“Chelsea Football Club announces today that it has put its new stadium project on hold. No further pre-construction design and planning work will occur,” read a statement issued on the club’s website on Thursday.
“The club does not have a time frame set for reconsideration of its decision. The decision was made due to the current unfavourable investment climate.”
The announcement comes after it emerged Russian billionaire Abramovich was yet to have his British visa renewed amid a crackdown by authorities on associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Chelsea is yet to comment on the future at the club for Abramovich, who this week flew into Israel to receive Israeli citizenship.
The club will also be without the financial windfall of a Champions League campaign next season after finishing fifth in the Premier League.
The most recent schedule for the redevelopment of Stamford Bridge had been for Chelsea to play at their current ground until the end of the 2019-20 season before spending up to four years in a temporary home, widely expected to be Wembley.
This latest move, however, raises the question of whether the club’s plans for a new 60,000-seater arena will ever be realised.
Liam is ESPN FC’s Chelsea correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @Liam_Twomey.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.