Call it “Zeno’s Stadium.” Tottenham Hotspur is expected to update its supporters on the current state of their new stadium, but once again it may not be the update that fans want to hear. According to the Evening Standard, Tottenham is expected to announce that the upcoming North London Derby on Saturday, March 2 will be played at Wembley Stadium, but may not give a firm date as to when the new ground will be opened.
The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium is undergoing a series of tests to the critical safety systems, the same systems that prompted the first initial delay this past fall. If, as expected, those systems pass inspection, test events can be scheduled and the stadium could open as early as the home match against Crystal Palace on Sunday, March 17. The North London Derby was originally mooted as a potential opening date, but the Metropolitan Police expressed concerns due to the NLD’s status as a high-intensity, sometimes provocative derby.
However, the opening date is no longer fully up to Spurs. The reasons for potentially pushing the date to April are for scheduling issues. Crystal Palace plays Doncaster in the FA Cup on February 17, and should Palace win, the match against Spurs will likely be rescheduled to another date later in the season to accommodate the next round of the Cup. The Met does not want Spurs to open its stadium in a mid-week match for security concerns, and the next available home match is not until April 6 against Brighton & Hove Albion. If Brighton somehow reach the FA Cup semifinals, the April 6 match could also be rescheduled.
After the debacle in the fall in which Spurs announced a stadium opening date and then had to walk it back, the club has been extremely reluctant to make promises until they are 100% sure of the outcome. The frustrating end result is that the new stadium is closer than ever to opening, but fans still will not know the first match in Spurs’ new home for a while.