Despite a COVID-19 outbreak among the team and staff members that has already resulted in the cancellation of two games, Tottenham Hotspur is looking ahead to Thursday’s Premier League game against Leicester City with optimism. That said, it has yet to be determined whether the Spurs will be in a position to retake the field.
The club returned to training on Monday at the Hotspur Way training ground, a reason to be hopeful that the team will play on Thursday. Still, according to a report by Dan Kilpatrick from the Evening Standard, training ground areas remain closed and equipment is depleted due to positive tests and close contact protocols that force people to isolate themselves.
While the restrictions are cause for caution, the report indicates that the club is preparing as if Thursday’s game is underway.
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But COVID testing is done daily and the club is not out of the woods yet. According to Matt’s Law from The TelegraphAt least one player tested positive on Monday, and there is also a separate “big outbreak” among the U-23 team.
Will Tottenham play on Thursday?
The Telegraph report claims that in a worst-case scenario on Thursday, Tottenham manager Antonio Conte could have as few as 13 players available for the national team. According to league guidelines cited by Sky Sports, the Premier League grants postponements “in exceptional circumstances”, but not when 14 or more players are available.
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If Thursday’s game against Leicester City is postponed, that would leave Spurs with three Premier League games to make up, after a trip to Burnley was canceled by snow on November 28. That presents an increasingly difficult task for a Tottenham team still hoping to make it to the top four. Spurs are currently just three points behind fourth place, which would award automatic last place to the lucrative UEFA Champions League.
With still more than half of the season to go, there would be open dates for rescheduling matches in the future, especially against teams like Burnley and Brighton that do not compete in European competition. However, if Sunday’s scheduled game against Liverpool is also called into question, that could prove more challenging given Liverpool’s involvement on multiple competitive fronts. Leicester City are scheduled to play in the Europa Conference League playoffs in February.
Tottenham conference league game canceled
Before the Premier League match against Brighton was postponed on December 12, Tottenham’s COVID-19 outbreak had already resulted in the cancellation of their last group stage match in the Europa Conference League on December 9. December.
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That match was scheduled against Group G leaders Stade Rennais, and Spurs, in third place, were entering the group final in hopes of a victory that would allow them to overtake the Dutch Vitesse to second place and advance to the Conference League playoffs.
With a decision yet to be made on whether that match will be replayed, UEFA still included Tottenham’s name in the Conference League playoff draw alongside Vitesse’s. UEFA’s Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body is working to determine next steps, and it is unclear if Spurs will have a chance to move forward or if they will have to give in.
Tottenham was scheduled to host that Conference League match in London, and after it was scraped off, the club took the previously ordered food and donated it to those in need. The same thing happened with the meals reserved for the trip to face Brighton.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.