Tottenham’s push to postpone their Europa Conference League tie at home against Rennes on Thursday night has been met with a furious response from the French club, who have accused them of acting unilaterally, without UEFA’s backing. , and in bad faith.
Spurs, who have seen an alarming increase in Covid cases and have closed the first team area of their training center, issued a statement at 9:00 p.m. to say that the game against Rennes was canceled, with the English football facing a growing crisis in terms of the virus. .
Leicester previously reported that seven of its players had not traveled to their Europa League match in Napoli due to Covid or illness. Three staff members also did not make the sick trip.
Spurs coach Antonio Conte had said he was “scared” when he revealed that eight players and five coaches had tested positive, and the club announced that “discussions are ongoing with UEFA.” [over the Rennes fixture] and we will provide a new update in due course. “
Spurs are likely to ask the Premier League to postpone their game in Brighton on Sunday, and the visit to Leicester next Thursday will also suffer.
But Rennes responded in a statement at 10:30 pm, saying that as the decision to postpone the tie had not been confirmed by UEFA, the club were sticking to their decision to play. The Ligue 1 club argued that Spurs had not provided the necessary details of the scale of the outbreak within their ranks and, in the face of what they called a “London fog”, they reserved the right to approach UEFA.
Rennes said: “This lack of fair play is even more glaring as Tottenham confirmed by email this afternoon that the match would take place before informing us of their intention not to play after landing at London City Airport.” .
The Premier League last week confirmed 12 positive results among players and staff, the highest number since August, and amid concerns over the rapid spread of the Omicron variant, the situations at Spurs and Leicester are concerning.
Conte had worked with a skeleton senior team on Wednesday morning and said that after the session a player who intended to start against Rennes returned a positive test.
Senior outfield players represented at the session were Matt Doherty, Eric Dier, Davinson Sánchez, Joe Rodon, Japhet Tanganga, Harry Winks, Giovani Lo Celso, Tanguy Ndombele, Dele Alli, Steven Bergwijn, Ryan Sessegnon, Jack Clarke and Harry Kane. Sessegnon was sanctioned and Lo Celso doubts his aptitude. Goalkeepers Hugo Lloris, Pierluigi Gollini and Brandon Austin were understood to be available. Tobi Omole, who is on the UEFA A list, was also photographed.
According to UEFA rules, if a club has fewer than 13 senior players available and no goalkeepers, a draw can be postponed, which means that Spurs were on the brink and, in the end, they came to feel that the situation regarding the Rennes was unsustainable. Spurs, aware of their responsibility not to put Rennes at risk, know that UEFA’s deadline for a reshuffled tie is the end of the month.
It is understood that the Leicester players who did not travel are Kelechi Iheanacho, Ademola Lookman, Daniel Amartey, Jannik Vestergaard, Ayoze Pérez, Filip Benkovic and Vontae Daley-Campbell. Leicester need a draw to make sure they advance.
“We’ve had a number of people, staff and players that haven’t traveled,” Rodgers said.
“We have had some positive results [Covid] cases, some are generally not right, so we have not taken the risk. We will have seven unavailable. Has been [over the] the last days, really. Overall, you’re starting to see a few more cases, and for us, it’s always about the health of our players. We have to respect traveling to Italy.
“The players who weren’t well that we could have given 24 hours to feel better, we couldn’t take any risks with them, so we’ve kept them at home along with the other guys who were deemed positive.”
Conte had spoken with emotion and not a little anger at his press conference, which was organized remotely, and his greatest concern was the unknown.
“There are eight players and five staff members, but the problem is that every day we have people with Covid,” he said. “People who were not positive yesterday are positive today and we continue to have contact with people who we think are negative but the next day they become positive. This is a serious problem.
“Everyone is a little scared because we have family and [we ask]: ‘Why do I have to take this risk? Why?’ This is my question. Tomorrow who [will be positive]? I? I do not know. Maybe. Better me than a safe player, but I think it’s not good for everyone because we have family and we contact them when we get back home. Soccer is the most important thing but today talking about soccer is impossible. There are situations that made me very angry ”.
To advance to the Conference League play-off round, Spurs must match Vitesse’s result at home against NS Mura and ensure their goal difference remains higher than that of the Dutch club.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism