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Tottenham forced to delay opening of new stadium

Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium will now open more than a month later than originally planned after recent testing and commissioning found issues with its critical safety systems.

Tottenham had been due to open the state-of-the-art, 62,000-seat stadium with a Premier League match against Liverpool on September 15 but this game will now be held at Wembley, along with the October 6 game against Cardiff City.

Tottenham spent the 2017-18 season at Wembley while work on its new home was carried out and the club had already been due to play this weekend’s home game against Fulham at the 90,000-seat stadium. Yesterday’s (Monday’s) announcement by the club means that at least two more home games will need to be staged at Wembley instead of the new stadium.

The delays have also dealt a blow to the NFL American football league, which has a 10-year agreement in place with Tottenham to stage games at the stadium. The first NFL game at the stadium had been due to take place on October 14between the Seattle Seahawks and Oakland Raiders but this has also been moved to Wembley.

It remains to be seen where Tottenham’s home game against Manchester City on October 28 takes place. Should the new stadium not be ready by then, moving the game to Wembley could prove problematic as the national stadium is due to stage the NFL game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Jacksonville Jaguars on the same day.

Tottenham has also moved to cancel test events at the stadium scheduled for August 27 and September 1. These will be rescheduled for a later date and must be carried out to ensure the stadium achieves the necessary safety license.

Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy said: “We know this will be disappointing for all our season tickets holders, premium members and our fans worldwide. We appreciate the support our partner the NFL has shown since the extent of this issue became evident today. At the start of the project we asked for your support during what we knew would be a complex and challenging build and now we ask for your continued patience and forbearance.”

Mark Waller, NFL executive vice-president, international, added: “Everyone has been so excited about the prospect of playing in the new Tottenham Hotspur stadium and I know all at the club are very disappointed, but determined to clear this final hurdle. We totally understand the issue. We shall continue to work with them towards making our future games at Spurs a huge success. The new stadium will be an amazing venue for the NFL and we are very excited about our long-term partnership with Tottenham Hotspur.”

Image: Tottenham Hotspur