Premier League: Spurs ‘nightmare’ over new stadium delays

‘Critical safety system’ issues mean the games against Liverpool and Cardiff will be played at Wembley

Tottenham’s new stadium will also be used for NFL London matches
Tottenham’s new stadium will also be used for NFL London matches
(Image credit:

Tottenham’s dream of a spanking new White Hart Lane has turned into a “nightmare”, according to The Sun, with club chairman Daniel Levy reportedly “livid” at the turn of events.

Having spent last season squatting at Wembley while the Lane underwent an £800m makeover, Tottenham had been scheduled to play their first match at the 62,000-seater stadium on 15 September, against Liverpool in a match to be screened live on Sky Sports.

But The Times predicts that Tottenham fans may not be able return to White Hart Lane until as late as November.

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Back to Wembley

Levy broke the news last night in a statement. “Recent testing and commissioning has now shown issues with the critical safety systems,” the club said.

“Our Premier League matches against Liverpool [15 September] and Cardiff City [6 October] will be switched to Wembley, as will the NFL match scheduled for 14 October. The test events will need to be rescheduled to take place before any first official match at the new stadium in order to achieve the safety licence.”

Levy had agreed a contingency plan with the Football Association in the event that the stadium was not completed on time, says The Times. Under that deal, Tottenham could continue playing their home matches at Wembley until the end of the calendar year.

That will cost the club yet more money, to the fury of Levy, who must also talk to Uefa about relocating their Champions League group games to Wembley.

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Builders ‘too busy sunbathing’

Photographs published in The Sun show a stadium “months away” from completion. “More than 15,000 seats have yet to be installed after a summer of chaos,” while the premium lounges and executive boxes are “piled high with materials and building equipment”, says the newspaper.

A club insider pointed the finger of blame at builders, alleging that many have been off enjoying the summer heatwave when they should have been working.

“Levy would have preferred them all to apply themselves that little bit harder,” says The Sun, adding that builders had also installed the wrong seats in June. “Levy puts in furious phone calls and thrashes away at his laptop, sending irate emails about the lack of progress.”

The Spurs chairman has asked fans to be understanding about the delays, saying: “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.”

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Under pressure

The Times says the chairman “will be under pressure” to refund those season ticket-holders who don’t wish to go to Wembley for the matches against Liverpool and Cardiff.

He will also be feeling the heat from the NFL, with whom he recently signed a ten-year deal to stage American football matches on the Lane’s retractable artificial surface.

The embarrassment at having to call off the clash between the Seattle Seahawks and Oakland Raiders in October would be acute, particularly as the NFL contributed £10m towards the stadium’s construction.

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