One day after announcing a last-minute, nearly two month delay of the opening of their new 62,000 seat stadium, Tottenham Hotspur are trying to make amends with their most ardent supporters. Spurs announced yesterday that due to “issues with critical safety systems” within the soon-to-be-completed Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, the club is pushing back the opening of their new ground. This means moving the previously announced opening match against Liverpool on September 15, the home match against Cardiff City on October 6, as well as the scheduled NFL game between the Oakland Raiders and Seattle Seahawks on October 15 to Wembley Stadium.
In the immediate aftermath of the announcement, Tottenham fans — and especially season ticket holders — took to social media to voice their displeasure with both the delay and the lack of communication from the club. In response, Spurs posted a second message on their website today offering season ticket holders full refunds for the affected home games against Liverpool and Cardiff.
Last night’s announcement was brought forward from today in order to advise fans as soon as possible given the confusion caused and the news of the Board meeting becoming public. As such we were unable to release details of refunds and ticketing at the same time as planned – please now find them below.
We should like to apologise to supporters for this delay. We are acutely aware of the disappointment this may cause supporters and shall now look to ensure that we minimise any inconvenience.
Our Construction team is working hard to overcome these issues and we shall keep you all updated. Thank you for your support at this challenging time.
Despite the club offering these refunds to disaffected fans, the delay, which came only after a story in English paper The Sun, is a major public relations disaster for Spurs. While most supporters understand that delays can happen in major construction projects like this one, many were rightfully incensed at the failure to communicate these issues, especially after the club significantly raised season ticket prices in anticipation of the stadium opening in time for the new Premier League season. Offering a refund to fans who cannot or will not attend the matches at Wembley is the very least that the club can do.
Barring any future delays, the new plan is to open the stadium on October 28 when Tottenham Hotspur host defending league champions Manchester City.
Meanwhile, the National Football League has expressed its support for the move, with NFL Executive Vice President Mark Waller telling the Los Angeles Times that the delay will not impact the league’s current and future collaboration with Tottenham Hotspur.
“We totally understand the issue. We shall continue to work with them towards making our future games at Spurs a huge success. The new stadium will be an amazing venue for the NFL and we are very excited about our long-term partnership with Tottenham Hotspur.”
Spurs are still expected to host between 1-2 NFL matches per year in the new stadium for the next decade, though there are currently none scheduled for the rest of the 2018-19 season.