Chelsea Football Club has failed in its attempt to buy back the freehold of Stamford Bridge following an unsuccessful general meeting of Chelsea Pitch Owners shareholders.

The West London club will now have to rethink their proposal to CPO, which was seen as the first step to a move to a new 60,000-seater venue, after plans were rejected after a dramatic three and half hour general meeting.  It ended with 61.6% of votes cast supporting the club's proposal but it needed 75% for the proposal to be accepted by CPO.

Chairman Bruce Buck told "If we look at the result of the meeting, obviously we're disappointed but there are several significant positives. In our discussions over the last three weeks we are firmly convinced the large body of shareholders of CPO and fans recognise that it may be necessary to move from Stamford Bridge, and it's not their desire to stay at Stamford Bridge at any cost no matter what happens to the club.

"Another major threshold we're over is that within that body of fans that accepts we may need to move, we're comfortable that Earl's Court is not the only place that would be satisfactory to them as a new site. That's also very important information for us."

Chelsea have played at Stamford Bridge since the club was founded in 1905. The ground currently holds 42,055 which falls short of Premier League rivals Arsenal – 60,000-seater at the Emirates and 78,000-seater at Manchester United’s Old Trafford.

"Where I think Chelsea Pitch Owners had two concerns which prevented us from getting the 75 per cent was what happens after 2020, and what happens if something happens to Mr Abramovich,” added Buck. “I think those are the areas which Chelsea Football Club was not able to convince them about.

"There's a bit of a setback now, but it's not like we were planning to move tomorrow. We don't know if this will affect our negotiations for sites. We'll know that when we start talking to someone again."

Posted on 28/10/2011