Police Force Tottenham To Keep 20,000 Seats Empty For Wembley Opener
There will be "almost 20,000 empty seats" for Tottenham's first Premier League match at Wembley "because of restrictions imposed" by Brent Council and Metropolitan Police, according to Matt Hughes of the LONDON TIMES. Tottenham has sold "about 70,000 tickets" for Sunday's game, including 3,000 to away fans, but is "struggling to sell out" and is resigned to a "large area in the stadium’s upper tier being closed" for one of its "biggest games of the season." Tottenham sold out all of its Champions League matches at Wembley last season, including a record crowd for an English club game of 85,512 for the loss to Bayer Leverkusen, but has had its hands "tied by limitations." After talks with the safety advisory group, made up of representatives from Brent Council, the Met, the London Ambulance Service and the London Fire Brigade, the club has "not been permitted to put the remaining tickets on general sale" and is only able to sell seats to supporters who registered on Tottenham's website before July 1. Wembley has a safety certificate allowing the ground to accommodate 90,000 fans for a football match, "although the official capacity varies because of differing policing and segregation requirements" (LONDON TIMES, 8/17). In London, Samuel Lovett reported the "restricted general sale" limitation is "standard practice for fixtures that are deemed high-risk events," as is the case with a match between Chelsea and Tottenham. Tickets for most EPL matches "are rarely released on general sale" due to the large numbers of season ticket holders and members at each club, but Tottenham's temporary move to Wembley "has opened up certain matches to casual supporters" (INDEPENDENT, 8/17).