Chelsea are set to receive approval from the Premier League for Infinite Athlete to become their new shirt sponsor. The Stamford Bridge club have been waiting for the deal, which is understood to be worth around £40m a year, to be given the green light.
Chelsea, who have also bought land opposite the entrance to their training ground in Cobham, have started the season without a sponsor on the front of their shirt. They have been looking to sign up a new brand since their deal with the mobile phone company Three ended this year. The search has been led by the club’s new chief executive, Chris Jurasek. A potential deal with Stake.com, an online casino, fell through after a fan backlash and another with Paramount Plus was blocked by the league.
Infinite Athlete emerged as the likeliest new sponsor in August. The company was established this year after a merger involving Tempus Ex Machina, which in April signed a seven-year partnership with Chelsea.
The deal will come as a major relief to Chelsea’s owners, Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital, who have endured difficulties on and off the pitch since their takeover of the club last year. It could be too late for the Infinite Athlete logo to make its debut for tonight’s Carabao Cup tie against Brighton but it could be unveiled for the league game at Fulham next Monday. It will also be worn by the women’s team.
Also on the agenda for Chelsea is the potential redevelopment of Stamford Bridge but that could run into complications after a military veteran lodged an interim court injunction against a proposal to sell a crucial piece of land next to the ground.
Chelsea secured an agreement in principle to buy a 1.2 acre site belonging to Stoll, a provider of supported housing for veterans, in July. The deal has undergone a consultation period, with Stoll’s board of trustees expected to make a final decision on the proposed sale next month, and there has been a backlash from residents who do not want to move home. There has also been public opposition from the Fulham Medical Centre but the injunction has not stopped Stoll from continuing with the process.
Buying the Sir Oswald Stoll Mansions site, which is next to Stamford Bridge, could reduce Chelsea’s chances of having to move ground. Building a bigger, state of the art ground has been a major objective for Boehly and Clearlake. However it has been stressed that buying the Stoll site would not automatically mean that Chelsea stay at Stamford Bridge. They have looked into moving to Earls Court.
However the Earl’s Court Development Company recently launched a draft masterplan for a mixed use scheme in the area and has said it does not include the construction of a new football stadium.
In a separate development Chelsea have jumped at the chance to buy land next to their Surrey training ground after it became available. They have not submitted any planning permission and it is unclear whether they intend to expand their training site. Chelsea moved to Cobham in 2005.