Tottenham are currently aiming to move into the new 61,000 seater stadium for their match against Burnley on 15 December, three months after the initial target of the Liverpool game on 15 September. But they will only be able to do so if they can complete crucial work on the stadium’s fire safety systems in time for the two test events they have planned.
Before the Burnley game Tottenham have ‘home’ matches against Chelsea on Saturday 24 November and Southampton on 5 December. Those matches are officially listed as occurring at the new White Hart Lane but Tottenham are expected this week to announce that they will also be switched to Wembley, where Spurs have been playing their ‘home’ games since the start of last season. Tottenham insist that nothing has been decided yet, but that it will be announced as soon as they know.
After the Chelsea and Southampton fixtures are confirmed as moved focus will be on whether the new stadium will be ready for a pre-Christmas opening. Before the stadium can open it must receive its safety certificates, which Haringey Council will only grant after two successful test events. The first test event – pencilled in for late November – would be for a capacity of up to 30,000 people. The second, which Spurs hoped to be in early December, would be for a capacity of up to 48,000.
But those test events cannot take place until the safety systems are ready. Daniel Levy told a meeting of the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters Trust earlier this month that the stadium would have been ready for the Liverpool game were it not for the safety issues. The view at Tottenham is that the Liverpool game was a realistic target, but that they have been let down by certain contractors.
Tottenham will have to pass two tests before being allowed to use their new ground (Getty)
Ultimately Tottenham do not have to tell the Football Association whether they will need Wembley for the Burnley game until early next month. But if they do not open the new ground with that match then they may delay the opening until the arrival of Manchester United on 13 January. Spurs are due to host Bournemouth on Boxing Day and Wolverhampton Wanderers on 29 December, although there is a reluctance inside the club to open the new stadium for either of those games because of the logistical concerns associated with that time of year.