English Premier League football club Chelsea has made preliminary enquiries regarding the possibility of playing matches at Twickenham stadium while its Stamford Bridge home is redeveloped.
Chelsea wants to expand the current capacity of its 41,837-seat home to around 60,000 to increase matchday revenues and in turn aid its compliance with Uefa’s Financial Fair Play rules.
Such a renovation would see the team require a temporary home stadium, probably for a single season, and Twickenham – the iconic 82,000-capacity stadium for England’s national rugby union team – has been identified as a candidate.
A spokesman for the Rugby Football Union (RFU) told the Sunday Times newspaper: “We are regularly contacted by a variety of organisations, within and outside sport, on a wide range of opportunities concerning the use of what we believe is a world-class stadium.
“We have had an inquiry from Chelsea FC but have not had any discussions of any substance. While we don’t comment on any specific confidential conversations, each request is taken on its merit, assessing a variety of factors, such as the effect on the pitch, availability, transport and local considerations and other important implications.”
A Chelsea spokesman added: “We’re investigating different scenarios as part of the consultation process we started earlier this year, but have had no discusssions of substance so far.”
Chelsea would be unable to make any move to Twickenham before the 2016-17 football season as Twickenham is a main venue for the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
A redevelopment of Stamford Bridge is Chelsea’s chosen route after its bid to build a new stadium on the Battersea Power Station site was rejected. In June, Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich re-opened the club’s long-running bid to determine its future at Stamford Bridge by commissioning a study of the local area.
Twickenham has also staged pop concerts and rugby league matches but has never held a football game and declined the opportunity to be involved in England’s unsuccessful bid to host the 2018 Fifa World Cup.