Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich after a match at Stamford Bridge in London, England. Picture: CLIVE ROSE/GETTY IMAGES
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich after a match at Stamford Bridge in London, England. Picture: CLIVE ROSE/GETTY IMAGES

Chelsea Football Club, the Premier League soccer team owned by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, was granted approval to demolish its stadium at Stamford Bridge in London to build a larger one.

Hammersmith & Fulham borough council approved plans to build the 60,000-seat stadium, about a third more capacity than it currently has, late on Wednesday. The club has agreed to contribute £3.75m ($4.33m) towards affordable housing in the area as part of the deal.

Chelsea, founded in 1905, has been looking to play in a larger arena for several years. After failing to find an alternative site, including Battersea Power Station, it announced it would apply to redevelop its current home. The team will play its home games at temporary venues for three years while building work takes place. The club hopes to play its first game in the revamped venue in 2021.

"This is just the latest step, although a significant one, that we have to take before we can commence work," the club’s website said.

The decision to approve the new ground can be appealed and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan will also have to agree to the plan. Cost estimates for the redevelopment of the plot start from £500m, according to reports in the Telegraph.

© Bloomberg

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