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Blues deny stadium vote wrongdoing

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19 Jan 2012 16:46:34

Blues deny stadium vote wrongdoing

Chelsea have categorically denied attempting to rig October's vote over the future of the Stamford Bridge freehold.

A report has named people who allegedly bought a number of shares in Chelsea Pitch Owners (CPO) ahead of last year's ballot to decide whether the Blues could buy back the land beneath their current home. It was claimed these individuals had links to Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich and club directors, something that had long been alleged.

However, a club spokesman said on Thursday: "As we have previously stated, when approached by people asking how they can help, we responded that they should vote in favour of the motion if they have shares, or buy shares and vote in favour of the motion. We categorically deny any allegations of wrongdoing against the club or anyone connected to the club."

The Blues lost October's vote in any event, preventing them from being able to move to a new 60,000-seater stadium. But fan-led group CPO, which was set up in 1993 to prevent the club being made homeless by property developers, have since admitted 1,686 shares were issued that should not have been.

There is no suggestion of any wrongdoing on Chelsea's part but opponents of their plans have suggested the fairness of the entire CPO sales process has nevertheless been compromised by the accidental overselling of shares.

Mass buying of shares was pursued both by those for and against Chelsea's plans, with a group set up called 'Say No CPO' (SNCPO) to campaign against the club.

There have also been claims the Blues, who have yet to decide whether to leave Stamford Bridge, could make a profit out of selling Stamford Bridge. But it is believed all funds from a sale would go into the development of a new ground, with a shortfall still to be made up, either by Abramovich or a bank loan.

CPO hold their annual general meeting on Friday, where a motion will be tabled to reopen the selling of shares, which has been suspended since October's vote.

SNCPO fear people with sympathies to the Chelsea boardroom could hoover up much of the allocation and make it more likely the club would win any future vote on the Stamford Bridge freehold.

In a statement on Thursday, it said: "We feel the sale of shares in CPO should remain suspended until discussions have taken place to prevent such practices being repeated in future."


PA

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