Obviously, as a former hasbeen wannabee lawyer, my first thought on hearing the news that Chelsea Football Club is considering a move to Capco's Earls Court was for the legal ramifications of such a move.A quick google found some interesting info on vitalfootball.co.uk which had the following post:
"Suggestions of a move away from our spiritual home have always been met with great disapproval and the role of the Chelsea Pitch Owners (CPO) must also be accounted. The CPO actually own the Stamford Bridge pitch, as well as the naming rights of the football club. It's all very complicated but I find that Ken Bates, our former chairman and creator of the Cpo, explains it rather well, in quotes taken from the brilliant Rick Glanvill official Chelsea biography.
'It [the CPO] definitely served its purpose. Because there were two or three approaches to invest in the club [before Abramovich], which never got in the papers, and as soon as they looked at CPO, it was a poisoned pill, they ran away. Well, they wanted to move Chelsea out and knock the place down because it's so valuable.'
'The CPO sold shares all over the bloody place and no matter how many shares you bought you could only have a few votes. The idea was no matter the number of shares you controlled; just a few determined people could f*** it.'
'Oh, and the other thing which I think was really the cleverest of all, we transferred the name Chelsea Football Club Limited to CPO. And the company that has the license to Chelsea Football Club, which is Chelsea Football Club Ltd, the condition is they have to play all their first-team games at Stamford Bridge.'
'So when they talk about Abramovich moving the club to East London or the new Wembley or whatever, you say, 'Great, off you go, rename it Neasden United, give us our pitch back, we'll sign tomorrow and we'll name it Chelsea Football Club Limited, just as Wimbledon have.' That's what I mean, the ultimate poison pill.'"
If these plans are for real there has got to be a pretty tasty legal case here somewhere.
Photo by TheTruthAbout via Flickr.