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Workers on Spurs' new White Hart Lane stadium 'off their heads on cocaine' during construction

The Telegraph logo The Telegraph 20/09/2018 Sam Wallace

a sign on the side of a road: Spurs stadium workers were 'off their heads on cocaine and alcohol' during construction - PA © Provided by Telegraph Media Group Limited Spurs stadium workers were 'off their heads on cocaine and alcohol' during construction - PA

Tottenham Hotspur have been hit with fresh allegations over their delayed new stadium that workers on-site have been drinking and drug-taking and that the problems with the 60,062-capacity project have in part been caused by chaotic management of a workforce that peaked at 4,000.

Industry magazine Construction News levelled a range of allegations against Mace, who have managed the building of Spurs’ new home which was originally scheduled to open last Saturday for the Premier League game against Liverpool. It was alleged by one unnamed source that when the site was at capacity “there were people off their heads, drinking cans first thing in the morning before going on to site and snorting coke in the toilets”.

It is alleged that Mace’s role as a construction manager, with subcontractors dealing directly with the club rather than answering to Mace themselves has contributed to a lack of co-ordination on the site of the stadium, currently estimated to cost £850 million. This led to one Construction News source alleging “what should take a week normally takes a month, because of the sheer scale of it, but also because the communication is horrendous”.

The club will continue to play at Wembley for the foreseeable future, a decision announced on Aug 13 by chairman Daniel Levy and one which required changes to the fixture list as well as the moving of the NFL game scheduled to be played there on Oct 14. At the time the club said that testing at the new stadium revealed “issues with the critical safety systems”.

An aerial view as work continues on Tottenham Hotspur's new stadium at White Hart Lane © Tottenham Hotspur FC/Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images An aerial view as work continues on Tottenham Hotspur's new stadium at White Hart Lane Tottenham Hotspur White Hart Lane new football stadium © Matthew Chattle / Barcroft Images / Barcroft Media via Getty Images Tottenham Hotspur White Hart Lane new football stadium

In September, Spurs said that their Premier League game against Manchester City on Oct 28 would be postponed for 24 hours and they will play their Carabao Cup third-round tie against Watford next Wednesday at MK Dons’ stadium in Milton Keynes. All three home Champions League group fixtures will now be played at Wembley.

Construction News estimates that the stadium will not be ready until January although neither Mace nor Spurs were prepared to put a timeline on its likely completion.

Levy said earlier this month that the delay was “disappointing, costly and frustrating” but that he would be “uncompromising” in his effort “to deliver something extraordinary to our fans”.

Mace rejected the suggestion that the contract it had with Tottenham to manage the site and the various subcontractors was unusual in the construction business and said that many of its projects, including the transformation of Battersea Power Station, work along the same lines. Under this model the club negotiates an individual price with each of its subcontractors and the construction manager does not hold as much liability when meeting deadlines for the project.

It was alleged by Construction News that in one case electrical wiring was twice installed and twice ripped out because electricians had not been told that air-conditioning that needed to be fitted first had not yet been completed. While Mace was unable to comment on individual events on a site that has been operating for 15 months, it did indicate that occasional mistakes were inevitable on a project of this size.

a screenshot of a cell phone: Timeline | How stadium crisis unfolded © Provided by Telegraph Media Group Limited Timeline | How stadium crisis unfolded

The company says that it has a rigorous drug-testing policy from chief executive level down and any worker found under the influence of illegal substances would immediately be taken off the site. It had not been informed of any drug abuse or drinking on-site and would have acted upon it had that been the case.

In a statement the company said: “Mace strongly refutes the image of our project painted by these anonymous allegations. The health, safety and well-being of everybody is, and has always been, a core value at Mace and any suggestion that our rigorous standards around best practice or drugs and alcohol had been broken would be taken extremely seriously. We carry out regular random drugs and alcohol testing to ensure that our rules are enforced throughout our supply chain. Any concerns about specific health and safety risks should have been flagged to Mace health and safety staff on the project.

“The new Tottenham Hotspur stadium is one of the UK’s most complex and innovative projects. The club and the construction team are working diligently to complete the iconic stadium as soon as possible. Although these delays are obviously frustrating, once complete the new stadium is going to leave a fantastic, lasting legacy and will be a project everyone involved will be proud to be associated with.

“As you would expect, the number of operatives on site has  reduced as sections of the stadium have begun to complete, in line with our programme.”

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