Tottenham Hotspur faces the prospect of remaining at Wembley Stadium until the end of the 2018-19 season amid continued delays in the construction of its new home ground.
Tottenham announced last week that it will continue to play at Wembley until at least mid-February, stating that it needs time to schedule test events at its long-delayed new home.
The club had initially been due to move into the 62,000-seat stadium in September but a string of delays have pushed back the opening date. Spurs said last week that the past month has seen remedial works take place, software issues resolved and corrected safety equipment installations increase.
Testing has continued at the stadium but the club is facing a race against time to move into its state-of-the-art new home before the season is out, with the Daily Mail newspaper reporting that the ground will not be completely finished before May.
A source close to the project told the Daily Mail: “There are large areas that will simply not be finished in time. But if you can safely get fans in and out, provide toilets and food, the stadium could still host games before the end of the season, even while the finishing touches remain. The vast majority of the hospitality lounges are ready to go.”
Tottenham has already confirmed that its Premier League matches against Watford (January 30), Newcastle United (February 2) and Leicester City (February 10) – and its UEFA Champions League match against Borussia Dortmund (February 13) – will take place at Wembley.
Should Spurs progress to the fifth round of the FA Cup and have a home draw, this game will also be played at Wembley on the weekend of February 16-17. The next scheduled home match is the North London derby against Arsenal on March 2 but it appears unlikely that this will open the stadium due to the strain it would place on the police services.
The Daily Mail has now reported that the Premier League will force Tottenham to remain at Wembley for the rest of the season if the new stadium is not ready in time for the match against Brighton & Hove Albion on April 6.
Thereafter, the club has three more home league matches. According to the Daily Mail, the league feels this is too few amid concerns over Tottenham receiving a home advantage towards the end of the season.
A source close to the Premier League told the Daily Mail: “There are doubts about letting Spurs play at home for just two or three games this season but all will become clearer after Daniel Levy’s next statement. It would be strange if the new stadium was ready and not used but there is the issue of competitive advantage.”
Tottenham remains hopeful that the Crystal Palace match on March 16 will open the stadium, even if it is not completely finished by this time.
The club is set to issue a fresh update in the coming weeks.
Image: Tottenham Hotspur