Tottenham waiting to discover Wembley fate

Date published: Thursday 23rd March 2017 7:25

Wembley Stadium: Could host all of Spurs' home games

Tottenham will discover on Thursday if their proposal to host 27 matches at Wembley next season has been approved.

Brent Council’s planning committee are to discuss the application as Spurs hope to take one step closer to confirming their switch for the 2017-18 campaign.

Tottenham have until March 31 to activate the option to play at Wembley although it is understood their decision will not depend solely on Brent Council’s verdict.

Building work continues on the club’s new £800million stadium next to White Hart Lane and the key consideration is whether the project can be completed on time.

Spurs could yet stay at their current ground next season and play home games at Wembley in 2018-19, before moving into the new stadium for the 2019-20 campaign.

Brent Council’s approval of 27 matches at the full capacity of 90,000 is also considered essential given Tottenham are desperate to avoid hosting games in a part-full Wembley, with the negative effects that would have on the atmosphere.

Wembley can allow five more major sporting events within its current cap so Spurs are asking for an additional 22 to make 27 overall.

They initially asked for a total of 36 games at the national stadium’s maximum capacity of 90,000, in order to cover the highest number of home matches the club could feasibly play in all competitions next season.

But the proposal was considered too great a strain on local residents, with Brent Council instead suggesting a compromise option of all 36 matches but at a reduced capacity of 61,000, the same figure the new White Hart Lane will hold.

Tottenham have not budged on the maximum attendance, however, and their latest proposal requests the 90,000 capacity but for only 27 fixtures.
Any more matches would then in theory have to fall in line with Wembley’s current regulations, which state additional events can only be open to the lower and middle tiers, amounting to an attendance of 50,835.

However, Press Association Sport understands the Football Association would seek to ensure those extra matches could also be played at full capacity and Tottenham remain confident they would not be left short.

Hosting 36 fixtures is also highly unlikely. It would mean them going deep both in Europe and the two domestic cup competitions next season, as well as drawing every possible away tie.

In the last 10 years, Tottenham have three times had more than 27 home matches in a season – 31 in 2006-07, 28 in 2007-08 and 30 in 2014-15.

They had exactly 27 home games last season and will host the same number again this term, which is likely to have informed the club’s latest request.

Brent officers have recommended the council’s planning committee approve the proposal, pointing out that special measures will be taken to reduce disruption to the local community.

Objections remain, however. By March 14, 164 representations had been made to Brent Council, with 156 rejecting the proposal.

Barry Gardiner, MP for Brent North, questioned “why there is a need for Tottenham Hotspur to play games at Wembley’s full capacity.”

Gardiner added that “the increase in the number of matches will prove a real strain on local living”.

Bob Blackman, MP for Harrow East, expressed concern about the “additional pressure on public transport” and also how “this sets a precedent for Chelsea FC to use the stadium for a further three years”.

Tottenham played European home games at Wembley this season but with little success.

Mauricio Pochettino’s side lost two of their three Champions League fixtures under the iconic arch before a draw there against Gent meant they also crashed out of the Europa League.

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