Tottenham Hotspur have been pretty fortunate overall when it comes to COVID-19, and haven’t really had anything close to the cluster outbreaks that have arisen in some other European football clubs, but they may have just gotten a scare. Or at least we did. According to a Bulgarian football journalist, twelve Ludogorets players have tested positive for the coronavirus since playing Tottenham five days ago.
BREAKING: 12 players of Bulgarian champions Ludogorets have tested positive for Covid-19! Their Cup game against Sportist Svoge, which was supposed to be played this Thursday, has been postponed pic.twitter.com/YcIZoAOMlh— Metodi_Shumanov (@shumanskoo) November 10, 2020
According to a news release on Ludogorets’ website posted yesterday, the club confirmed that player Abel Anicet had tested positive along with two players from their second team (bringing the total of second team players with COVID to 9). The release stated that all Ludogorets players and personnel had been tested again with the results due back today. The above tweet by Shumanov is probably referencing the new tests.
So before we get SUPER nervous, there are a couple of caveats that are important to keep in mind. First, we know that the entire Ludogorets squad was tested the day before Spurs played them in Bulgaria and all players and staff on both squads came back negative. It’s also not entirely clear whether the 12 cumulative positives includes the confirmed positives from the second team or not. If it does, that potentially changes some of the calculus, or at least changes the way we should think about this outbreak.
The one thing that we think we know about this virus is that transmission between players during an actual match is thought to be very low. The fact that the match was played outdoors also works in everyone’s favor — it’s much easier to catch COVID while riding on the team bus or staying with your teammates in a building than it is playing against a bunch of dudes on a football pitch.
Also, we should probably presume that Tottenham’s players and staff have been routinely tested in the days since returning from Bulgaria. That’s not to say that nobody on the team is positive, but if there had been a cluster outbreak of COVID within Spurs we’d probably have heard about it by now.
So I’m not saying not to be worried. This is really bad! But it’s probably not as bad a situation as what some are suggesting. It does really make you think about how so many footballers are currently leaving the country to participate in meaningless friendly matches with their national teams, though. And of course, we hope that everyone on Ludogorets who caught the virus is able to make a swift and total recovery.