The Premier League has told Tottenham Hotspur that it will not permit them to move into their new stadium this season unless it is ready for their next home game.
It is understood that the Premier League is insisting that Tottenham play all five of their remaining home games at their new ground or stay at Wembley for the rest of the season. Spurs’ next home match will either be against Brighton & Hove Albion on April 7 — should Chris Hughton’s side lose to Millwall in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup — or against Huddersfield Town six days later.
The Premier League has supported Tottenham throughout their stadium project and permitted the club to repeatedly move fixtures and change kick-off times owing to issues with the build. However, it has always insisted that there would come a time when a definitive decision would have to be taken regarding their home games for the rest of the season, a point which appears to have been reached.
Tottenham have been asked to provide greater clarity so that the issue does not overshadow the business end of the season when the league title, Champions League qualification places and relegated teams are decided. The club, however, are not in a position to provide such certainty because they have yet to announce details of the two test events required to get the stadium opened and their remaining fixture list is up in the air owing to complications caused by the FA Cup.
Ironically the FA Cup draw has potentially given them more time, as a scheduled home Premier League game against Crystal Palace the weekend after next has already been postponed because Palace have reached the quarter-finals, while the visit of Brighton will also be delayed if they reach the semi-finals that weekend.
To complicate matters further, the Brighton game will have to be postponed even if they do not reach the semi-finals if Tottenham’s stadium is not ready by the start of next month, as Wembley is being used to stage both last-four ties on the first weekend in April. In that case the Huddersfield game on April 13 would also be moved to Wembley.
The Premier League has yet to give Tottenham a deadline to inform them of their intentions but an announcement will have to be made by the middle of this month to provide certainty for the fans. It is likely to come after the FA Cup quarter-finals on the weekend of March 16-17.
After reaching the quarter-finals of the Champions League last night, Mauricio Pochettino said he was hopeful the club would be at their new stadium for their last-eight tie, the home leg of which could be played on any of April 9, 10, 16 or 17. He said: “I expect to play in the new stadium, of course.”
Uefa is reluctant to sanction a quarter-final tie at the new stadium if a league match has not taken place before it.