Tottenham Hotspur look set to play at Wembley Stadium while White Hart Lane is reconstructed.
Spurs will be without a stadium for the entire 2017-18 campaign as their current home will be demolished and a new $600 million stadium holding 61,000 will be built in its place.
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The Chairman of the English FA, Greg Dyke, believes a deal with Spurs will get over the line soon and he also claims they Spurs are also in talks about playing their UEFA Champions League games at the 90,000 capacity stadium next season.
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Speaking on Sky Sports News in the UK on Thursday, Dyke revealed that talks with Tottenham were at an advanced stage.
“We’re in discussions with Tottenham that they should come in for a full season when they’re building their new stadium, and we are a long way down the path on reaching agreement,” Dyke confirmed.
“I think there are some discussions about whether they will play Champions League games at Wembley next year but I don’t know much about that. But on the full season (2017-18), I think we’re quite close to a deal.”
So, as expected, Spurs will likely pay the FA a fee to rent the stadium — the FA then plan to reinvest it at the grassroots level — and play temporarily away from White Hart Lane.
That’s pretty standard and the only issue will be if Chelsea’s plans to renovate Stamford Bridge go ahead (the Blues are also looking to temporarily relocate to Wembley) but they’ll likely use it for three seasons and may not need to until 2018-19, such is the magnitude of their stadium project.
However, the real juicy bit of news here was that Spurs is looking to host Champions League games at Wembley next season.
With Mauricio Pochettino‘s men missing out on the title to Leicester, they are still guaranteed a spot in next seasons UCL and will return to play among Europe’s elite after a five-year absence.
I’m sure Spurs will get close to a sellout of 90,000 at Wembley for their UCL games and make a lot of money from it but does something about that seem a little strange? Having a season of UCL action in the old White Hart Lane stadium seems fitting and the cozy surroundings and electric atmosphere (it’s one of the loudest and best venues to watch a game in the PL) would certainly intimidate some of Europe’s big boys who may roll into town.
Yet, the fact that the Lane will only hold just over 32,000 fans next season, due to some seats being taken out for construction work, means that almost trebling crowds for big European nights makes sense. It will also give both the FA and Tottenham a chance to test out how things will work for the 2017-18 season.