The club’s sudden announcement that the long-planned project is being scrapped immediately came out of the nowhere today.
In a shock statement on the Blues website, the club said: “Chelsea Football Club announces today that it has put its new stadium project on hold.
“No further pre-construction design and planning work will occur. The club does not have a time frame set for reconsideration of its decision.
“The decision was made due to the current unfavourable investment climate.”
It is understood the decision is a direct response to Abramovich being banned from from entering the country in April after his investor visa ran out, as part of the Government’s war of words with Russia.
Earlier this week, Abramovich gained Israeli citizenship, meaning he no longer needs a visa to enter the UK, although he can only do so as a visitor and not in a working capacity.
Chelsea remain insistent that there has been no change in Abramovich’s commitment to the club he has transformed since buying out Ken Bates in 2003.
But with Antonio Conte having fallen out with the club hierarchy over its reluctance to try to match big-spending Manchester City and United, the latest news saw some Blues fans wondering if Abramovich may be preparing to say goodbye.
Posters on Chelsea chat sites were among those asking about Abramovich’s commitment.
On the official club site, one fan said: “Bye Roman. Mind the door on your way out."
Another added: “So, Roman is ‘committed’. Isn’t that the Mafia kiss of death, the thing we say to managers before sacking them?”
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