For a while now Tottenham supporters have wondered why Spurs haven’t yet announced that they will be playing their home games next season at Wembley Stadium. Today, the Evening Standard may have helped to shed light on why.
Matt Law is reporting today that the final decision has not yet been made on whether Tottenham can use the full capacity of Wembley Stadium for its home Premier League games, or if they will be restricted from using the upper tier. Consequently, Spurs haven’t confirmed their use of Wembley next season while construction of their new stadium is finished.
Spurs were granted permission to use Wembley’s full 90,000 capacity for its Champions League and Europa League matches this season, and sold out three of those four games, including today’s tie against Gent. But there are Brent Council ordinances in place that restrict the number of full-capacity matches that can be held in Wembley at the present time.
As it stands now, Spurs can only use Wembley’s full capacity for five matches next season. If the Wembley ownership group cannot convince the council to increase the number of matches played at a full Wembley Stadium, the rest of Spurs’ games next year will be restricted to the bottom two tiers with a seating capacity of 51,000.
The Standard reports that Brent Council will not rule on the expanded number of full capacity matches until March 23, and Spurs’ deadline for notifying the FA of their intent to use Wembley is March 31. That doesn’t leave a whole lot of time if the council doesn’t rule their way.
What’s not clear is what happens if Spurs can’t use the full Wembley Stadium capacity. We haven’t heard of any alternate destinations for Spurs other than Wembley, now that the Milton Keynes deal apparently dried up. If the council rejects Wembley’s proposal, Spurs may have to suck it up and play in a half-empty stadium for the bulk of their matches (though still with a significantly larger capacity than peak White Hart Lane).
It’s also possible that Daniel Levy has another proposal in his back pocket that nobody knows about. Considering the logistics of moving the club elsewhere for a season, however, that seems rather unlikely. If I were to guess, I’d say that Spurs will play in Wembley regardless, but are hopeful that they can leverage the full use of the stadium in order to maximize profits during their year in the wilderness.