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Chelsea in local council row over victory party

Chelsea have become embroiled in a row with Hammersmith and Fulham council over the staging of a victory party should they win the Champions League final.

The club have been examining the possibility of holding an open-top bus parade in the area around Stamford Bridge if they return from Moscow with the European Cup next Thursday, but have been told by the council that the earliest they can stage such a parade is the next weekend.

As almost all Chelsea's squad are due to report for international duty next Friday, delaying until then is out of the question.

Any parade must have the backing of the Metropolitan Police Authority, Transport for London and three local authorities, but as the ground falls within its boundaries, Hammersmith and Fulham has the right of veto.

The council insists that holding a parade on a Thursday evening that would clash with rush hour is an impossibility, claiming that the expected 100,000 crowd would bring West London to a standstill, while they are particularly wary of the potential for public disorder given the violence that marred the Uefa Cup final in Manchester.

Chelsea acknowledge that any event would be disruptive but are prepared to take their case to the London Assembly or the Mayor's office should they beat Manchester United next Wednesday.

"Clearly a plan for a parade in our local area of London was something that needed to be discussed in advance," a club statement said.

"It would be inappropriate for us to comment further on this matter, as we have yet to play the match, other than to say it is totally untrue we have denied our fans the opportunity to celebrate with the team. If we win next Wednesday, we will make our position publicly clear then."

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