Tottenham have agreed an extension until April 30 to decide whether they will stage home matches at Wembley next season, the club confirmed on Friday.
As revealed by Standard Sport, Tottenham have secured a deal with stadium chiefs to extend the original deadline of March 31 by a month.
The arrangement expires on the same day Tottenham face Arsenal, which could be the final north London derby to take place at White Hart Lane.
In a statement on Twitter, Tottenham declared their intentions, writing: “This is to give ourselves greater flexibility before making the final decision on the decommissioning of White Hart Lane.
“Our intention remains to spend next season at @wembleystadium before returning to our new stadium in Tottenham for the 2018-19 season.”
Chairman Daniel Levy admitted this week Spurs cannot yet be certain of their timetable to occupy their new 61,000-seat ground, a project costing £800million.
Until they are comfortable with their schedule, Tottenham will keep open the option of spending next season at White Hart Lane. Despite the widespread assumption that this will be the final year at the ground that has been home since 1899, not once have the club said so publicly.
The new deadline means Tottenham may head into the final month of the Premier League campaign, which ends on May 21, without knowing where their home games will take place next term.
Although Tottenham have been working on ticketing plans for some time, it also means supporters must wait longer to learn what they must pay to watch Spurs next season – and indeed where they will do so.
Yet Tottenham face a difficult balancing act. Before giving the green light to demolish White Hart Lane – which would happen soon after the end of the season – the club must be certain that building work is on track and all necessary funds are in place.
READ MORE: Mourinho responds to £173m Neymar talk
READ MORE: Liverpool line up £92m Madrid double deal
At a meeting of Brent Council’s planning committee last week, Tottenham were granted permission to stage home matches at full capacity at Wembley, if they move there for 2017-18. That means, in theory, that all their home games could take place in front of a crowd of nearly 90,000.
But they have yet to take this step. The final home game of the season is against Manchester United, over the weekend of May 13-14. Plans have been made behind the scenes to celebrate the occasion, if it is the final game at White Hart Lane.
If the move is delayed by a year, what follows is uncertain. Would Spurs move to Wembley in 2018-19, when Chelsea also hope to start a three-year term there, during the redevelopment of Stamford Bridge? In the past, Spurs were open to the idea of sharing the national stadium; Chelsea less so.
Discussing the situation this week, Levy said: “Whilst everyone is eager to know if this is our last season at White Hart Lane, we shall only make the decision to decommission our [ground] when we have greater certainty on the delivery of the new stadium.”