Chelsea defated in bid to buy back pitch to pave way for move

Chelsea have been defeated in their bid to buy back the freehold of home ground Stamford Bridge following a general meeting of Chelsea Pitch Owners shareholders.

Chelsea failed to convince the holders of 75 per cent or more of the shares in CPO to support their proposal.

The move would open the way for a move to a new 60,000-seater stadium.

Out of a total 3,569 votes cast 61.6 per cent went in favour of the bid, leaving the club 13.4 per cent adrift.

The defeat prevents Chelsea regaining ownership of the land they sold to the supporter-led group CPO in the 1990s in order to ensure the club was not made homeless.

They made an offer to buy back the freehold at the beginning 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.

Their opponents, spearheaded by the "Say No CPO" campaign, insist they are not against relocation in principle but criticised the club for a lack of openness.

Chelsea chairman, Bruce Buck, said: "I guess on behalf of Ron [Gourlay, chief executive], myself and Mr Abramovich, obviously we are disappointed but we recognise and respect that the shareholders have spoken.