Work progresses on the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium as the crew rushes to put the finishing touches on Spurs’ new ground. Now, according to the Evening Standard, comes the announcement that the first test event will be held at the new stadium in August.
Spurs are required to host at least two test events — one at reduced capacity and one at full capacity — in order to receive a certificate of safety from the FA that says it’s safe for the stadium to host full-capacity events and matches. Consequently, the club plans to host a reduced-capacity open training session “shakedown cruise” for 30,000 people that will stress test the existing structure and let officials know what yet needs to be worked on or to identify any potential problems. The exact date of the first test event has not yet been announced.
Along with that comes the news that Spurs are still putting contingency plans in place in case the stadium isn’t ready on time. Workers were testing the state-of-the-art sliding pitch last week, one of the biggest remaining pieces of the puzzle. Plan A is still to open the new stadium in time for the Premier League season, while Plan B is to play a string of away games to start the year. The stadium is still expected to host the NFL game on October 14.
Dan Kilpatrick now writes that the Premier League has granted a two week extension to the deadline for Spurs to apply to play a string of games at Wembley Stadium in lieu of playing home games. That new deadline is now June 14, and would require the approval of the Premier League board.
It looks like there’s still a long way to go before things are ready, but I’m willing to bet that things are closer than what they look like considering the amount of heavy machinery currently on the playing surface. My guess is that all the major external and structural parts of the stadium will be finished either on time or very close to on time unless something goes seriously wrong. I also suspect that there will be some interior details that might not be completed until further along the line, which seems fine.