Tottenham confirm new stadium will not open until 2019
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Spurs will now play all home games at Wembley Stadium up to and including the clash with Wolverhampton Wanderers on December 29
Spurs have confirmed their new stadium will not open now until 2019 due to “factors completely out of the club’s control”, chairman Daniel Levy revealed in a statement on Friday night.
The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium was set to open on Saturday, September 15 for the Premier League game with Liverpool, but critical safety issues ensured a delay and so Mauricio Pochettino’s team have been forced to use Wembley Stadium as home.
Recently the Argentinian revealed he hoped to be in the new ground by Christmas, which saw some predict the opening game would be the clash at home to Burnley on December 15.
However, a lengthy club statement which discussed the financial implications of the delay and revealed Spurs have agreed a contract with Nike up to 2033 explained the current situation to supporters.
It read: “Since we last provided an update on the progress of the new stadium on 3 September, 2018, we have been working hard with the contractors involved in the critical safety systems.
“Key contractors involved in the mechanical, electrical and safety systems are being supported with external resources and closely monitored by our construction manager, Mace.”
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Tottenham chairman Levy said: “I wish I was able to confirm an exact opening date and fixture.
“However, in light of factors completely outside of our control, contractors missing deadlines and possible future unforeseen issues, we are naturally being cautious in respect of our timetable for our test events and official opening game.
“Whilst we are conscious of the need to keep pressure on our contractors to deliver as soon as possible, we are also acutely aware of how difficult the lack of clarity is for you, our supporters, to plan around games, particularly those at Christmas and New Year.
“In light of the above, and taking into account the restricted availability of manpower over the festive period, we have taken the decision to confirm today that all home games will be played at Wembley Stadium up to and including the game against Wolverhampton Wanderers on 29 December.”
He continued: “We have no doubt when open that this stadium will be one of the finest in the world – a leading example of British research and development delivering engineering and technological firsts that will be showcased globally.
“I hope that the end result will be something that will make you proud. We shall look to update you again in early December.”
Spurs will also be engaging with Wembley National Stadium Ltd and Brent Council regarding attendance capacities at Wembley Stadium for the forthcoming games.
In a financial update, a statement read: “The club continues to operate on a sensible financial basis in order to take a long-term view for the benefit of current as well as future generations of Tottenham Hotspur fans.
“The club’s investment over recent years in facilities has resulted in total gross tangible assets at 30 June, 2018, in excess of £1bn - facilities which include the Training Centre, the new Players’ Lodge, Percy House, home of the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation, Lilywhite House Club offices, new retail warehouse, new Paxton House Ticket Office and now the new stadium along with the newly-opened Spurs Shop – the largest football club store in Europe - plus other property assets.
“These investments have been financed by funds from the Club and bank finance, principally from Bank of America Merrill Lynch International, Goldman Sachs Bank USA and HSBC Bank plc (“Banking Partners”) who have provided a development facility of up to £637m.
“At 30 June, 2018, the club had net debt of £366m. This level of investment by the club has been made possible by record revenues of £381m and profit from operations before football trading, depreciation, interest, tax and exceptional items of £163m for the year to 30 June, 2018.
“Trading for the current year will, however, be impacted by the additional costs of Wembley and the delay to the opening of the new stadium.
“Working with our Banking Partners and our financial advisor, Rothschild & Co, we shall be converting this development facility, which currently expires in April 2022, into notes with a mixture of debt maturities.
“The residual amount of gross debt to be converted or extinguished will depend on a number of factors including several commercial discussions.
“In recent months we have secured an extended agreement with Nike up to 2033, one of the longest football club deals in Nike’s history.
“We have also announced a number of new brand partners including, amongst several others, Audi, IWC Schaffhausen, HPE and EA SPORTS.”
Levy concluded: “Our current position in the Premier League, a record start for the club, is testament to the professionalism and positive approach of Mauricio, his staff and the players.
“They have made no excuses, focused on their games and made us all proud of this exceptional attitude.
“We also wish to express our gratitude to all the staff at the club in going over and above to successfully oversee operations at three different venues this season.
“Additionally, we should like to thank our partners, our colleagues at the Premier League, our fellow Premier League clubs, the FA and also Wembley and Brent for hosting us.
“We are experiencing frustrating times - however every now and then someone reminds us of just what we have undertaken and achieved to date – and what this stadium will be like for generations to come – and that keeps us going.
“Thank you to all who have sent messages of encouragement. It is much appreciated by those involved in this challenging project.
“This is a stadium for another century and a few months’ delay will hopefully soon be forgotten when we proudly return home. Your continued patience, understanding and, above all, support for the first team is invaluable.
“None of what we have achieved and are looking to achieve would be possible without you, our fans, and your immense loyalty. Thank you.”