Todd Boehly ‘already planning’ Stamford Bridge redevelopment as part of Chelsea takeover
American billionaire Todd Boehly has pushed ahead with plans to redevelop Stamford Bridge as he attempts to curry favour in the race to take over Chelsea from Roman Abramovich
Todd Boehly is reportedly already working on plans to redevelop Stamford Bridge in an effort to win support in the race to buy Chelsea.
Boehly is the leader of one of the four bidders who have been shortlisted to take over the club from Roman Abramovich. The American billionaire, who is a co-owner of the LA Dodgers and LA Lakers, is determined to beat the competition for the European champions.
He is up against Chicago Cubs owners the Ricketts family, former Liverpool chairman Sir Martin Broughton, who has financial backing from Crystal Palace co-owners David Blitzer and Josh Harris and the sports expertise of Sebastian Coe, and Boston Celtics owner Stephen Pagliuca . The four bids have been given until April 11 to submit their final detailed plans, with Chelsea then set to present ministers and the Premier League with their preferred bid a week
Boehly believes he can show a point of difference by showing a clear commitment to the difficult issue of what to do with Stamford Bridge. The 40,000-seat stadium is much smaller than Chelsea’s Premier League rivals and Raine Group, the US merchant bank tasked with overseeing the process, has advised bidders that they need to be ready to invest £1billion in the club – a large amount of which would go on Stamford Bridge.
According to the Evening Standard , Boehly has engaged the services of property developer Jonathan Goldstein and is already talking to the former project director for Abramovich’s abandoned redevelopment, David Hickey. Meanwhile, architect Janet Marie Smith, who worked on many major stadium redevelopments in the US, has also been consulted.
Hickey only left his role as project director in December and has a great deal of experience in sports infrastructure, having worked on Arsenal ’s Emirates Stadium and venues in the Olympic Park.
What to do with Stamford Bridge has been a key concern for Chelsea for many years. The freehold for the stadium in west London is owned by the Chelsea Pitch Owners, not the club itself, and planning permission on a proposed 60,000-seater stadium expired two years ago.
The race is now on to scramble together a winning bid before the April 11 deadline. As The Mirror recently reported , the prospective owners have all been meeting with fans’ groups including the Chelsea Supporters’ Trust to gauge the feeling on the ground and ascertain what is important.
While Raine are overseeing the process, Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck and director Marina Granovskaia will have a big say on which bidder they put forward to be vetted by the UK government and Premier League.
Despite being under sanctions from the government following Russia ’s invasion of Ukraine, Abramovich is understood to be seeking in the region of £3bn for Chelsea, who he has owned since 2003. The Russian oligarch is willing to write off the £1.5bn the club owes him in order to complete the sale.