Chelsea defeated in stadium vote
Chelsea have been defeated in their bid to buy back the freehold of Stamford Bridge following a dramatic extraordinary general meeting of Chelsea Pitch Owners shareholders.
Billionaire Blues owner Roman Abramovich and his board must rethink their proposal to CPO, which was seen as a precursor to a move to a new 60,000-seater stadium, after it was voted down at a dramatic extraordinary general meeting.
Chelsea failed to convince the holders of 75% or more of the shares in CPO to back them at the emotionally-charged gathering in Stamford Bridge's Great Hall. The plan was supported by 61.6% of the 5,796 votes cast in person or by proxy, leaving the club 13.4% short of their target.
Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck confirmed Abramovich had been quickly made aware of the outcome. Buck, who refused to speculate whether the club would make a fresh proposal, said: "Roman's disappointed, but he respects that Chelsea Pitch Owners have spoken.
"It's really a matter of discussing with the rest of the board and discussing with Mr Abramovich what - if any - next steps there should be, can be, will be."
The outcome prevented Chelsea regaining ownership of the land they sold to supporter-led group CPO in the 1990s in order to ensure the club was not made homeless by property developers.
In what were remarkable scenes, the vote looked set to be postponed at one stage when an adjournment of the meeting was proposed by one shareholder who challenged the validity of the vote and the handling of proceedings by the CPO board and its chairman Richard King.
That motion received widespread support and appeared certain to succeed until King dramatically intervened to reveal a no vote would almost certainly carry the day.
With 4,000 proxy votes already counted, King confirmed that for the club to triumph, they required the holders of 1,400 of the 1,700 shares present at the meeting to back their proposal. That convinced the 700 shareholders present to cast their votes, which were quickly totted up before the result was announced.
Chelsea made an offer to buy back the Stamford Bridge freehold at the start of the month, saying they would not be able to move to a new stadium unless they could profit from the land on which Stamford Bridge sits.