Buck: No conspiracy behind bid
Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck insists there is "no conspiracy" behind the club's bid to buy back the land on which Stamford Bridge sits. The Blues this week made an offer to Chelsea Pitch Owners - most of whose shareholders are fans - for the stadium's freehold in what has been seen as a precursor to a move to a new 60,000-seater ground. There has been a mixed response to the proposal from supporters - some of whom believe the club need to relocate in order to continue to compete financially with Manchester United, while others are determined for the Blues to stay at their 42,000-capacity home. There are also some who have criticised them for a lack of clarity over their proposal and those who have questioned the short amount of time between this week's announcement and the vote at an extraordinary general meeting of the CPO on October 27. Speaking at the Leaders in Football conference, Buck said: "There's no conspiracy here. We've made no decision whatsoever that Chelsea are going to move and that's the truth. "We're just trying to be good business-people here and if an opportunity comes along that makes good sense for Chelsea - and by that I mean the fans and the club and the players - then we want to be in a position to be able to consider it rationally." He added: "The responses that I get by e-mail or people stopping me in the street, I think are generally positive. "There are people who are looking for clarification, such as 'Why didn't you consider tearing down the hotel?'. "I try to go into some detail with everyone about how we've looked at Stamford Bridge and how it's difficult to expand the capacity. "Even if we did expand the capacity, it's likely to be by only a few thousand." The CPO have owned the land beneath the pitch and stands at Stamford Bridge since the 1990s, when property developers threatened to make Chelsea homeless. However, the club says it now needs to buy back one of the most valuable plots of land in the country so that - should they decide to move - they can use the profits from its sale to fund a new stadium. That would not be possible otherwise, according to Buck, who added: "My message to the CPO shareholders is that we would like them to consider the letter I wrote and the documents we sent them and have a proper dialogue and ask me questions - I'm happy to clarify anything - and then vote for what they think is best for Chelsea Football Club." Buck confirmed the club had been approached by developers and they are known to have explored actively the prospect of relocating to Battersea Nine Elms, Earls Court and White City. The latter two now look highly unlikely destinations and Buck added: "We feel we have an obligation to listen and learn and keep an open mind about everything and anything. "But nothing has turned into a real substantive discussion."
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