We all assumed this would happen, but now it’s been made official — Tottenham Hotspur announced via their official website that their first home match in the 2018-19 Champions League has been moved to Wembley Stadium.
This comes, of course, on the heels of the recently announced delay to the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on the site of the old White Hart Lane. Failure in “critical safety systems” (with some reporting on problems with the fire suppression system) resulted in the club pushing back the opening of Spurs’ new ground, and moving the home games against Liverpool and Cardiff to Wembley.
Both home and away Champions League fixtures were set in between the Liverpool and Cardiff matches, so either way it was a match that was going to be moved. This probably also means that the rest of Spurs’ Champions League group stage home matches will need to be held at Wembley as well, though it hasn’t been announced formally. It is thought that UEFA is monitoring the situation at Tottenham and may be willing to allow Spurs to host home matches in the knockout stages in the new stadium, if it is ready and if Spurs make it that far.
The club also announced that the club could ask for “special dispensation” to play their opening match of the Carabao Cup either at the away club’s home ground, or at a neutral venue if they are drawn at home. Spurs will play their first League Cup match the week of September 24.
Sigh. Everyone wanted Spurs to play Champions League matches in the new stadium this season, not least the actual players, and they still might get a chance. But these things happen, and Spurs have now proven that Wembley is an effective home-away-from-home, even if the atmosphere is cavernous and kinda crappy. Good things come to those who wait, right?