Wembley Stadium

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Tottenham confirm Arsenal game will be at Wembley

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The north London derby will officially take place at Wembley Stadium.

Tottenham Hotspur confirmed the decision to host their clash against Arsenal on March 2 at their temporary home, as their new 62,000 capacity venue at White Hart Lane still isn’t ready.

Spurs’ new home was supposed to open in September 2018, but the move-in date was then pushed back to December, and now, here we are. They will play at Wembley against Arsenal in the NLD, and the stadium will have its full 90,000 capacity available for the game.

In a statement released by Spurs on Thursday, they revealed that the final stages of testing the critical safety system is coming up. That suggests that their first game in the new stadium could happen in late March or early April.

“We can today report that remedial works on the safety systems in the new stadium are near completion and we shall then move forward to the final stages of testing the fire detection and alarm system and its integration with the other safety systems. The success of this testing is critical to our ability to obtain a safety certificate and open the stadium. We can confirm, therefore, that we shall play our Premier League match against Arsenal on Saturday 2 March at Wembley Stadium.”

Daniel Levy, Chairman, said: “Once again, thank you all for bearing with us and for the great support we have received from so many different quarters. These next few weeks are pivotal.”

Tottenham added that they will “provide a further update in due course” as their next home game after the Arsenal clash is against Crystal Palace on Mar. 17.

The only issue is, Palace are still in the FA Cup so their game against Spurs may be pushed back until later in the season if they qualify for the quarterfinals which take place on the weekend of Mar. 16-17.

Therefore, Spurs will have to wait even longer for their homecoming. As we all know, a bit of extra time is probably a good thing…

With home games against Arsenal, Palace, Brighton, Huddersfield, West Ham and Everton remaining, is now a good time to just call this off and have Spurs start playing in their new stadium from the start of the 2019-20 campaign?

They will argue that they could get past Borussia Dortmund in the UEFA Champions League last 16 and have even more home games scheduled between now and May, plus moving home could give them a boost in the final months of the PL season as they’re still in with a shout to win the title.

Many will call into question integrity issues of Spurs getting an advantage by moving stadiums during a season, but the atmosphere at Wembley in recent games has been poor as the capacity for games has been capped to 51,000.

The novelty of playing at England’s national stadium now seems to have worn off among most Spurs fans, and who can blame them after 18 months at Wembley.

Moving Spurs into their new stadium as soon as possible must be the priority.

Opposition to Wembley sale ‘bizarre’ and led by ‘old men’

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Greg Dyke sees Shahid Khan’s capsized bid to buy Wembley Stadium as a massive missed opportunity for English soccer, and the former Football Association chairman is quite displeased by the “bizarre” opposition of the “old men” on the FA council.

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With an offer of more than $780 million on the table, Dyke believes that unprecedented — and otherwise impossible — investments could have been made to grassroots soccer that might just create a brighter future for the English game. If only it wasn’t for those meddling kids “the council is living in the past, as it always has done,” as he put it — quotes from the BBC:

“If I’d been chairman, I would have said it is the board’s decision.

“I don’t think the council is equipped to make this decision — that is what the FA board is for.”

Most notably, England is in desperate need of artificial playing fields up and down the country, as well as a tidal wave of newly licensed coaches to begin working at younger and younger age groups.

“The FA has only owned Wembley for 10 to 15 years, before that it was a private business.

“The idea you are going to lose something of value to Britain because it is not owned by the FA is the wrong one compared to spending [$784 million] doing what is desperately needed in this country and that is to spend money on grassroots facilities.

“If you want to have a step change in grassroots facilities in this country, you need this sort of money to be spent.

“It’s bizarre that the old men of the FA Council have stopped this.

“One of the tragedies of English football in recent years is that all the extra money that has come into the Premier League has by and large gone to players or agents, and not to football generally.”

Oftentimes, tradition and history come at the expense of revolution and progression, only to later realize that a golden opportunity has come and gone.

$800 million sale of Wembley moves to next stage

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American businessman Shahid Khan has moved a step closer to owning Wembley Stadium.

The current owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars and Fulham Football Club made an offer of close to $800 million to buy the home of world soccer from the English Football Association and the latter have been discussing the bid.

On Thursday the English FA revealed that talks were held about how to spend the money the sale of Wembley would provide and that discussions have moved onto the next stage.

“The sale of Wembley Stadium, the negotiated protections and an outlined plan to invest £600m into football community facilities, were presented and discussed at The FA Board meeting today. Following on from this discussion, The FA Board has agreed to take the presentation to The FA Council to get its input now that the full facts are known.”

Khan then released a statement saying that his potential purchase of Wembley would have “no effect on my plans to renovate Craven Cottage and, as such, has no impact on Craven Cottage continuing to be the permanent home of Fulham Football Club.”

He also added that he will continue “toward reaching an agreement that will serve English football for generations to come” as his plans are moved onto the next level with the English FA.

The FA Council will now meet to Oct. 11 in what is seen as the crunch meeting in deciding whether or not the bid will be accepted.

In theory the bid could have been rejected by the FA Board but the fact that they will now present to the council suggests it is being taken seriously.

The main talking point about the stadium being sold is that it would provide a huge cash injection for the FA to use on building the grassroots game in England and improving facilities for young players.

It is believed that the English national team will still play their home games at Wembley, but the fact that they have played recent internationals in Leeds and Leicester suggests they could move around the country with certain games in the years to come.

Prospective Wembley buyer Khan has ideas for venue

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Fulham and Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Khan is striking a lot of the right notes when it comes to his desired purchase of Wembley Stadium.

Khan, 67, says he wants to continue to host England matches if he gets the venue, and will also look to have a working retractable roof in order to further insure big events.

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“England must play there,” the American billionaire said. “Otherwise it will be a shell. It would be like an empty suit that doesn’t have soul.”

Khan also has an interesting idea to help smaller events at Wembley:

Another possibility, which has already been looked at by the FA, is the use of “video boards” which would be “automatically lowered on cylinders” to close the top tier of Wembley for certain events to give it a reduced 50,000-seat capacity. “There’s a lot creative stuff that can be done,” Khan said. “We are looking at all of those to get more use and create more revenue.”

It all sounds pretty cool, Shad… but are you bringing your NFL team? The comment section on the last post nearly started fire at the thought.

“I’d been to Wembley by then a couple of times and I told the NFL that the only venue we wanted to be part of was Wembley,” Khan said.

Report: Fulham, NFL owner Khan agrees to $700M price for Wembley

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Fulham owner Shad Khan also owns a National Football League team, and could have two top-flight teams from different nations playing in England soon.

For Fulham, the Cottagers are currently very much in the race for automatic promotion to the Premier League and at the least will have a chance at qualifying through the playoffs.

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For the Jaguars, who have rarely needed all the seats in their stadium, it could mean a move to London if Khan goes through with what’s being reported as an accepted $700 million bid to buy Wembley Stadium.

Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium was also built with the design to host NFL games.

Here’s how ProFootballTalk’s Michael David Smith puts a bow on it (on one of the biggest days of the NFL calendar, nonetheless):

So it’s possible that there could soon be two iconic soccer stadiums in London with strong NFL ties, one which was built with NFL games in mind, and another that is owned by an NFL owner. The league is pouring serious resources into London.

It seems unlikely Khan would move Fulham from Craven Cottage, but there are other repercussions of this move for soccer in England.

There’s the potential for the England national team to no longer utlizie a permanent home, and the FA Cup and League Cup both potentially requiring new or rotating venues for their final rounds.

A lot to monitor here, and we’ll surely have all the details as they emerge from Khan’s crew.