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Tottenham to reference 2011 London riots in new stadium opening - executive

The opening ceremony of Tottenham Hotspur's new stadium later this year will refer to the 2011 London riots that helped make it possible, executive director Donna Cullen has said.

The riots began as a protest in Tottenham and spread across the capital and into other areas of the United Kingdom.

In the aftermath, Spurs announced that they would be staying in the area amid the promise of public funding to regenerate it, having considered a move to the Olympic Stadium in East London.

"I was in San Diego on holiday and I think Daniel [Levy, the chairman] was in Florida," Cullen said. "The riots happened in Tottenham. We had a telephone conversation and we said: 'That's it -- we stay in Tottenham.' Something good always comes from something bad.

"All of a sudden, there's focus from local regional and national government. We'd banged our heads against that brick wall for so long.

"Nobody would have spent money in an area that had no commitment from government to support infrastructure and transport. As soon as we had the riots, everyone came back around the table and it was something we could do. We always wanted to stay in Tottenham.

"You'll watch when we do it [the opening ceremony]. It's also a nod to the area, to the riots, to literally: 'This is now a fresh start for everyone.'"

The ceremony is due to take place before the stadium hosts its first Premier League match against Liverpool on Sept. 15, and Cullen said the venue had kept links with Spurs' former White Hart Lane home.

"It's the little touches," the executive director said. "We're doing loads of touches that will bring us back from White Hart Lane, and for the opening ceremony and everything else.

"It's going to be hard not to feel the crowd there and for it not to be a great home territory, somewhere where hopefully away teams won't like to come."

Spurs have yet to find a naming rights partner, meaning their new home will be called Tottenham Hotspur Stadium for now.

"It was not essential to open the stadium with naming rights," Cullen said. "Those discussions are ongoing. With any big development like this you will always find some bits are ahead, some bits are on time and some bits have got to catch up.

"We've done the financials for the development, and the naming rights are considered in that. When that comes, it comes. We are having discussions at the moment."

Tottenham's new stadium will host NFL games as well as Spurs' matches, and is designed to be a multi-use facility.

"We've got a lot of approaches for concerts because what the stadium offers is that unique size," said Cullen.

"It's not a Wembley, where unless you're a U2 you're not going to fill it, and the O2 tends to be the smaller venues. We hit that 55-60,000 [capacity] and that appeals to bands.

"We're registering the interest and as soon as we're up and running we've got interest for conference and events, e-sports, music concerts, you name it."

Cullen was speaking in Los Angeles as she and a group of Spurs players visited young people from First Star -- an organisation that partners with universities and child welfare agencies to improve the lives of foster youth.

She said: "Children in care is one of the things we're really passionate about and 'To Care Is To Do' is one of our long-running projects, one in which we invest a lot of time and energy.

"We make sure the children realise they are part of the Spurs family, so we give them the mentoring and tutoring because children in care, research has shown, do less well educationally. That's what both of our foundations are doing at the moment."

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