Tottenham’s new stadium may not be ready until 2019 as problems with the safety systems may delay the move by up to six months.
Their home game against Fulham was meant to be the only match they will play at Wembley, but the club has backtracked and recently announced that home games against Liverpool (15 September), which was meant the be the curtain raiser at the new stadium, and Cardiff City (6 October) will also be played at Wembley Stadium due to problems with “critical safety systems” at their new home.
However, a source close to the construction revealed to The Mail on Sunday that the stadium could open as late as February.
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“The critical issues include [safety] systems. Some systems are incomplete or missing and nobody knows how long it is going to be,” a source told the newspaper.
“Completion could run into next year, depending on what other issues crop up. A best guess is that this delay will be between three to six months. In addition, the cost of the build has already reached £1bn and it is difficult to predict what the final bill will be. The costs keep piling up.”
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino offered his apologies to the fans and admitted that the delay is a “massive disappointment”.
“We all feel disappointed with the announcement from the club. I feel so sorry for myself, for our fans, players, everyone.
“The chairman tried with the board to arrive on time, it’s a massive effort, and that we cannot deliver for the Liverpool game is a massive disappointment for everyone.”
Tottenham’s fourth home game is against Manchester City on 28 August and has been moved to Sunday for broadcasting reasons, meaning they cannot use Wembley as a venue as it is hosting an NFL match. The RFU have ruled out Twickenham as a third home, which leaves the north London club scrambling to find a venue.
The club did not provide a date when they will play their first game in the new stadium, but they are putting together a revised timetable for the opening.
“Urgent follow-up meetings with Mace and the trade contractors are currently taking place. We are reviewing the situation and planned timetable to rectify and re-test, after which we shall be in a better position to outline a revised timetable.”
Uefa will allow Tottenham to play all their group matches in the Champions League at Wembley and are thought to be willing to let them use the new stadium if they advance to the knockout rounds in the New Year. If Tottenham get a home draw in the next round of the Carabao Cup, the EFL will allow the tie to be reversed.