The Premier League will block any attempt by Tottenham to use Wembley and Milton Keynes while White Hart Lane is being redeveloped. They would also prevent Chelsea using Wembley during the three years it will take Stamford Bridge to be turned into what the Premier League champions are calling "a cathedral of football" if any fixtures are shifted from the stadium.
The Premier League’s executive chairman, Richard Scudamore, said the most logical place for Spurs to play the 2017-18 season was Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium – though he acknowledged the level of opposition this might bring.
In a meeting between the Spurs board and the Tottenham Supporters Trust in April the club stated that their likeliest option was to move to Stadium MK, which is due to have a capacity of 32,000 when White Hart Lane begins its redevelopment in May 2017, and play the bigger fixtures at Wembley. Scudamore last night insisted this would be immediately vetoed by the Premier League.
“They would have to play in a single stadium for an entire year for the integrity of the competition,” he said. “You cannot have 19 home games with 10 at Milton Keynes and nine at Wembley. That is completely, completely unfair. That will not be allowed in our competition.”
He added: “They know the rules and what we require. They have to provide a stadium. We can’t have a fettered fixture list.
“Clubs have to be able to deliver 19 home games in the slots that are required. So, if they share with a rugby league club, we cannot be fettered as to when they can play.
“They have to work it out with Wembley or wherever they want to play, and decide if they could deliver that level of commitment to us.”
It would be difficult for either club to rent Wembley for a season because of the stadium’s commitment to staging NFL matches, cup finals and semi-finals. Brent Council currently limits the stadium to staging 37 live events a year.
Chelsea are reported to have offered the Football Association £11m to stage games there – substantially more than Spurs.
From the Premier League’s point of view, the most straightforward solution would be for the Tottenham board to ask Arsenal to play at the Emirates. The West Ham board has already rejected any suggestion of Spurs sharing the Olympic Stadium.
“Premier League fixtures are paired so Liverpool and Everton, Tottenham and Arsenal and Manchester United and Manchester City do not play at home on the same weekend,” said Scudamore. “So it is perfectly possible to have two teams playing in one stadium.
“You might very well argue that in some circumstances that would be desirable but I do know the reasons why it would be difficult.”
In a poll conducted by the Tottenham Supporters Trust, shifting all Spurs’ home games to Wembley while White Hart Lane is rebuilt was the overwhelming choice of the fans. Only eight per cent said they were “highly likely” to make the 48-mile trip to Milton Keynes, while 40 per cent said they would only renew their season tickets if Wembley were the sole venue.
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