Tottenham Hotspur would like to return to Asia for the second consecutive year as they finalize their preseason tour, but the spread of the coronavirus is causing them to rethink their plans. Spurs have not yet formally announced their preseason tour destination.
Dan Kilpatrick in the Evening Standard writes that Spurs are looking at a trip that would include stops in Seoul, South Korea in July, but could look at other options as the COVID-19 virus spreads around the world. There are currently two provinces in South Korea near Seoul that are designated as “special care zones” for coronavirus infections and its close proximity to mainland China, where the virus originated are causing pause.
It’s a little surprising that Spurs haven’t visited South Korea before now, considering the extreme popularity of Son Heung-Min in his own country. Sonny is considered one of, if not the, biggest sporting personality in Korea, and a Tottenham visit to the area would be considered hugely lucrative. It’d be a real shame if Spurs were to cancel this trip, as it’s probably the biggest “gimme” location outside of the United States they could possibly go.
However, Tottenham clearly want to minimize potential exposure to COVID-19. With coronavirus nearing pandemic status it’s anyone’s guess what the spread of the virus will look like this summer — it’s altogether possible that by then the situation will be vastly different with cases all over the world, not just in southeast Asia. This is wild speculation, but if the virus continues to spread one possibility is that Tottenham — and perhaps many other English-based football clubs — could stay home this summer, or schedule visits to countries with lower numbers of coronavirus infections.
Kilpatrick also notes that Sonny is due to return to London in a few days after finishing his recovery from arm surgery in Seoul. While the odds of him encountering the coronavirus are low, the Standard notes that he will follow “all UK government guidelines” relevant to possible coronavirus exposure.