The complications stemming from the construction delay of the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium continue to pile up for Spurs. What officials are calling “critical safety issues” have caused Spurs to postpone the opening of their new ground, forcing Spurs to move the September home match against Liverpool to Wembley Stadium, as well as the subsequent home match vs Cardiff.
The current plan is to (hopefully) open the new ground on October 28 against defending Premier League champions Manchester City, but even that appears to be in doubt, and if further delays prevent that date from being viable, Spurs could be in deep trouble.
According to the Independent, Wembley Stadium is unavailable on the 28th due to a scheduled NFL match, and the Rugby Football Union has declared Twyckenham Stadium also unavailable to host if needed.
Spurs also floated the possibility of reversing the home and away fixtures with City, but City rejected that option as well:
City have reportedly rejected an approach from Spurs to reverse the fixture and play the match at the Etihad as the away side. Pep Guardiola’s side turned away Spurs’ suggestion as it meant they would face a run of three away games in April, and the Premier League are keen to keep the match in its original state.
That puts Spurs in a real bind if the stadium is not ready to host by the end of October, and the Independent states that Spurs officials are “scrambling” to find a viable backup option.
I’m not sure what the options are here. Spurs could perhaps try and work out a deal with another Premier League or lower league club that plays away on that week, but no matter what solution they come up with, if the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium isn’t ready it’s going to be a huge headache for home and traveling supporters.
The stadium delay is also going to affect the Champions League games as well. Spurs are now likely to play all of their group stage games at Wembley, but UEFA is tracking the situation and could be amenable to having Spurs play any knock-out games in the new ground, should Spurs make it that far.