Chelsea stadium work delays may see some fans unable to attend season opener

The European champions have apologised to fans after revealing they are waiting on parts for the installation of rail seating in sections of the Matthew Harding Lower Stand. 

Affected supporters will have to wait until 3pm on Friday to find out if they will be allowed to attend, with the club offering refunds and other compensation to those forced to miss out.

The news will be a massive blow to fans who have been locked out of live football matches for the best part of 18 months due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

Chelsea have been undergoing stadium alterations – replacing 12,000 seats with new rail seating – with works on the Shed Upper and Lower already complete.

But specialist parts have yet to be supplied or fitted in the remaining areas of the Matthew Harding Stand and cannot be guaranteed in time for the Palace game.

Areas most at risk are the Matthew Harding Lower blocks 8, 9, 14, 15 and 16.

In a statement Chelsea said: “This means certain sections of the stand may need to remain closed. We are doing everything we can to prevent this, including working 24 hours at the factory and on site, but we wanted to notify supporters of this possibility, so they can plan accordingly.

“In the event that we cannot complete these seats those affected season ticket holders will receive a pro-rata refund for the match plus a refund of any reasonable pre-booked travel costs. Affected members will receive a full refund, plus a refund of any reasonable pre-booked travel costs. In addition, after discussions with the Fans Forum and several supporter groups, affected season ticket holders and members will also receive a complimentary ticket to one of the first three home Champions League Group stage games this season. Those affected supporters will be contacted next week regarding the process for redeeming this.

“We sincerely apologise for this situation, we should have done better. We have tried everything possible to avoid it, but due to the bespoke nature of the fittings we have no alternative but to wait and see if the supplier can meet our manufacturing and fitting deadlines.”

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