London: Chelsea’s plans to build a new pounds 500 million (Dh2.2 billion) 60,000-seat stadium cleared another major hurdle on Monday when they received approval from London Mayor Sadiq Khan.
“London is one of the world’s greatest sporting cities and I’m delighted that we will soon add Chelsea’s new stadium to the already fantastic array of sporting arenas in the capital,” Khan said in a statement.
The Premier League leaders plan to build the new arena on the site of their current Stamford Bridge home in west London, which seats 41,631 fans.
The proposals received planning permission from local authorities in January and the new ground could be completed in time for the 2021-22 season.
“Having taken a balanced view of the application, I’m satisfied this is a high-quality and spectacular design, which will significantly increase capacity within the existing site, as well as ensuring fans can have easy access from nearby transport connections,” Khan added.
“I’m confident this new stadium will be a jewel in London’s sporting crown and will attract visitors and football fans from around the world.”
The new stadium has been designed by Herzog and de Meuron, the architects behind the “Bird’s Nest” stadium used at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and Bayern Munich’s Allianz Arena.
It will enable Chelsea to bring their match-day revenue more into line with their main Premier League rivals.
Chelsea made pounds 93 million on match days in 2014-15, according to financial consultants Deloitte, well below Arsenal (pounds 132 million) and Manchester United (pounds 114 million).
Chelsea currently have the seventh-biggest ground in the Premier League and the third-biggest in London, behind Arsenal and West Ham United.
“This is the latest significant step toward redevelopment of the stadium and the delivery of the extensive local community programme,” Chelsea said in a statement, adding they were “delighted” by the mayor’s decision.
“Further steps lie ahead, both during and after the planning process, before construction work can commence.”
The club will have to leave Stamford Bridge — their home since 1905 — for three years during the redevelopment.
They could temporarily relocate to Wembley, which is being used by Tottenham Hotspur next season while their White Hart Lane ground is rebuilt.