Chelsea today revealed that as of the coming season, they have renewed relations with Brentford and will once again play their reserve fixtures at Griffin Park.
The reserves – or Under-21s, to give them their new official name – played at Brentford’s stadium from 2007-2010 before concerns regarding the quality of the playing surface saw them move the vast majority of matches to their Cobham training centre.
However, under the rules of the new Premier Development League, which replaces the existing reserve structure, stadium atmospheres are encouraged and in addition to returning to Griffin Park, two fixtures will be played at Stamford Bridge.
Matches are expected to be played between Friday and Monday, in an attempt to mirror the first team squad’s week in the build-up to a match, and Chelsea have mentioned that they intend to play the majority of their games on a Friday.
Entry into the Development League is a mandatory requirement for Premier League clubs as well as those who qualify for Category One status under the new EPPP regulations. That means a minimum of 20 teams and perhaps as many as 25 or 26 depending on the outcome of the ambitious Championship and League One teams aiming for the gold standard.
In addition to the news about Griffin Park, Chelsea also confirmed that they will continue to play FA Youth Cup fixtures at Staines Town’s Wheatsheaf Park, and will add their NextGen Series commitments to the same venue.