It's official! Tottenham Hotspur will be playing its Champions League matches at Wembley Stadium next season. The club made the announcement on Twitter and on its official website on Saturday, confirming a long-standing rumor that dates back several months.
The decision to play UCL matches at Wembley next season was made in part due to UEFA requirements for Champions League stadiums. Tottenham had already begin a partial demolition of the North West corner of White Hart Lane in order to begin construction of a critical support pylon for the new stadium. This reduced capacity might have put WHL at odds with UEFA requirements "affecting access, capacity and rights delivery."
In addition to Champions League matches, the agreement also provides an "option" to play all Premier League home matches at Wembley for the 2017-18 stadium, and presumably also includes some flexibility should construction delays push back the opening of Spurs' new stadium past the planned debut of August, 2018.
In a statement, Tottenham Hotspur chairman Daniel Levy said the following:
“We are delighted that, through working in partnership with WNSL and the Football Association, we have been able to reach this agreement. Given the current reduction in capacity at White Hart Lane for next season and the ticketing requirements for Champions League, playing at Wembley will mean that we can continue to accommodate all of our existing Season Ticket holders. Our season ticket waiting list is over 50,000 so this now also offers us a great opportunity to provide more of our supporters with a chance to see the team play live during our Champions League campaign.
"Importantly, as we know it was our fans' preference, it means that we can continue to play our home matches in London during our season away."
This finally puts to bed the rumors that Spurs were looking at a year at MK Dons' stadium during their year away from home. While stadium:MK had some advantages over Wembley, most notably price according to rumors, the decision was wildly unpopular with Spurs supporters who faced a much larger commute to home matches.
Chelsea was also looking at use of Wembley during the 2018-19 season as they begin a planned three year renovation of Stamford Bridge. There was no mention of Chelsea's bid or whether they will plan to look elsewhere.