Tottenham have moved a step closer playing at Wembley next season after Brent Council approved plans for the north Londoners to hold as many as 27 matches in front of 90,000 supporters.
Despite a high volume of objections and lengthy deliberations, Brent’s planning chiefs went with the officers’ recommendation and gave the green light – five votes to one – for the Premier League high-flyers to stage the majority of their potential ‘home’ games with a full capacity.
Spurs are expected to move to Wembley next season while work is completed on their new 61,000-seater stadium, a project costing £800m which is due to be completed in 2018, although a final decision on their temporary relocation is still to be made. It is understood they must take up their option to use Wembley by the end of the month.
Under the previous terms of the national stadium’s planning permission, Spurs could only have held five games with that number of people in attendance during the 2017-18 campaign, with the remainder at 51,000. Tottenham had initially asked the borough for 31 games at maximum crowd level, but reduced that request to 22, which when added to the maximum of five from the initial guidelines equates to 27.
The decision by Brent Council offers no guarantees that Tottenham will depart White Hart Lane at the end of the season and take up temporary residence at Wembley next term.
There has been no confirmation from the club either way. Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy admitted earlier this month that this season may not be the club’s last at White Hart Lane.
In minutes from a meeting between the club’s board and supporters’ trust, Levy is recorded as saying: “All planning is towards playing fixtures at Wembley next season but there is a need to plan for all eventualities should any major issues arise.
“That would mean another year at White Hart Lane before moving to Wembley for the 2018-19 season. Tottenham Hotspur will not move away for two years so all conditions must be right before they make the call to move this summer.”
As it stands, however, Tottenham’s final game at White Hart Lane is expected to be their clash with Manchester United on 13 May.
Despite the approval of the application regarding capacity, there remains the possibility of Spurs being unable to play all of their designated home matches in front of 90,000 even if they opt to move to Wembley.
Should Tottenham progress sufficiently in cup competitions then they will accrue more than 27 home fixtures, although they have done so in just three of the previous 11 seasons.