LONDON: Chelsea have found a more redoubtable opponent than Bayern in Munich — and they come from Malaysia.

Last month the European champions submitted an application to move to the 39-acre Battersea Power Station across the Thames site in Wandsworth, but administrator Ernst & Young has preferred a joint bid by from SP Setia and Sime Darby.

A statement read: “Following an extensive global marketing campaign, undertaken by Ernst & Young Real Estate Corporate Finance and Knight Frank LLP, the Joint Administrators are pleased to announce that on Wednesday 6 June 2012 they entered into an exclusivity agreement with SP Setia and Sime Darby and are working towards a timely exchange and completion of the site and associated land.”

Chelsea have been eyeing up possible sites since the present Stamford Bridge capacity of 42,000 leaves them at a significant disadvantage in matchday revenue terms compared with Arsenal and Manchester United.

Owner Roman Abramovich had hoped to transform the Grade II listed building on the south bank of the Thames into what the club described as “one of the most iconic football stadiums in the world”. Chelsea wanted to develop it into a 60,000-seater ground which included the power station’s landmark four chimneys.

SP Setia and Sime Derby issued a statement to the Malaysian stock exchange about the success of their proposal for a £400m “multi-use real estate regeneration project.” Their plan includes a tube station to connect to the Northern Line.

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