Fulham to redevelop Craven Cottage

Craven Cottage
Fulham initially looked to leave Craven Cottage in 2002

Fulham have unveiled plans to redevelop their Craven Cottage stadium and increase the capacity to 30,000.

The ground, which has been the Whites' home since 1896, currently holds 25,700 after several refurbishment projects over the past decade.

Recent reports suggested Fulham were looking to move to a new stadium and were considering a groundshare with west London neighbours QPR or Chelsea.

However, the club have confirmed that no such talks have taken place.

"We are still in the very early stages of the planning process and will be holding a public exhibition in mid-October, where we would very much welcome people's thoughts on our initial ideas," said Fulham chief executive Alastair Mackintosh.

"This investment at Craven Cottage demonstrates yet again the chairman's continued ambition to see the club prosper and grow and to continue to compete at this level for many years to come.

"The venue would also be subject to wider facility improvements and, as part of the consultation process, the club will begin speaking to residents, supporters and other interested groups from next week.

"We are confident that a redevelopment will improve the fans' matchday experience, and enhance our corporate offering, whilst remaining sympathetic to the design of this historic ground."

Fulham thought they had played their last match at Craven Cottage at the end of the 2001-02 campaign, spending the following season at QPR's Loftus Road with the intention of starting out in a new stadium a year later.

Opposition to the proposal ended the process and spiralling costs eventually resulted in the Whites aborting plans for a new home.

Instead, the club invested money in refurbishment work to increase Craven Cottage's capacity to 25,700, while upgrading facilities.

Recent reports suggested Fulham had reignited their search for a new ground in west London and would be vying with neighbours QPR and Chelsea for suitable plots.

QPR chief executive officer Philip Beard said on Thursday that the club are looking to leave Loftus Road for a new stadium, preferably in the Shepherd's Bush area.

Meanwhile, Chelsea 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.

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