Spurs vs Chelsea: Why will there be empty seats at Wembley?

Safety concerns mean that tickets can't go on sale to public, although 20,000 remain unsold

Spurs Wembley
Spurs played in front of sparse crowds at Wembley in pre-season
(Image credit: Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images)

Spurs won their opening game of the season but it's been a trying week for the club, who face Chelsea on Sunday in their first game at Wembley, their temporary home this season.

Amid negative headlines over a lack of transfer activity and wage structure, it's now being reported that the match will be played in front of swathes of empty seats at the national stadium, which has a capacity of 90,000.

"Tottenham have sold about 70,000 tickets for the visit of Chelsea on Sunday, including 3,000 to away fans, but are struggling to sell out and are resigned to a large area in the stadium's upper tier being closed for one of their biggest games of the season," reports The Times.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

That's because the London derby is "deemed high-risk" by safety groups and the club have "not been permitted to put the remaining tickets on general sale and are able only to sell seats to supporters who registered on their website before 1 July".

The Times says that the game against lowly Burnley a week later is likely to draw a bigger crowd as the general public will be able to buy tickets.

The Chelsea game is unlikely to be the only one affected this season.

"It is expected that Spurs will face similar restrictions for the visits of West Ham in December and Arsenal in February, although each decision is made on individual circumstances," says the London Evening Standard.

It adds that any Chelsea fans found in Spurs areas of the ground will be ejected.

"Spurs fought hard for Brent Council to allow them to have Wembley's full 90,000-capacity for every home game this season and, while the club's database [of supporters] almost certainly exceeds that figure, it is possible that ticket prices and TV coverage of the match have deterred fans," adds the paper.

Tottenham pulled in a record English club crowd of 85,512 for their Champions League clash with Bayer Leverkusen last season, but they may not exceed it this season.

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.