June 1 – Roman Abramovich, Chelsea’s Russian billionaire owner, has decided to put on hold a new 60,000-seater stadium following delays over the renewal of his UK visa.
In a move that could seriously affect Chelsea’s future ambitions and will certainly hit the club’s ability to generate extra revenue, Abramovich, who has ploughed millions into the club, is reportedly not willing to make further investment into the plans for the time being.
Sources in the City of London, the capital’s financial and banking district, told Insideworldfootball that Abramovich would possibly consider an offer for the sale of the club if the price was right.
Amid increasing diplomatic tension between London and Moscow following the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Abramovich’s investor visa expired some weeks ago and earlier this week it was reported he had become an Israeli citizen to allow him to travel freely to the UK.
Chelsea issued a statement saying the club had delayed work on Stamford Bridge because of “the current unfavourable investment climate”.
“No further pre-construction design and planning work will occur. The club does not have a time frame set for reconsideration of its decision.”
However, Abramovich is also understood to have baulked at the cost of the stadium rebuild which started off at an estimated £500 million but then ballooned to close a potential £900 million.
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