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Tottenham officially move on to Carabao Cup fourth round as Leyton Orient forfeit

It’s a bummer.

Leyton Orient v Tottenham Hotspur - Carabao Cup Third Round Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

It’s now official. Three days after the Carabao Cup third round match between Leyton Orient and Tottenham Hotspur was postponed after 18 Orient players tested positive for COVID-19, Spurs are officially moving on to the fourth round. Leyton Orient that, after consultation with the EFL on the rules concerning knock-out competitions and the coronavirus, that they were forfeiting the match, awarding Spurs a 3-0 win.

It’s a sad situation for everyone. League 2 does not require mandatory COVID-19 testing, so the only reason we know about the positive tests within the Leyton Orient squad is because Tottenham paid for the entire Orient team and staff to be tested. We can argue, as we have in other articles on this site, about who’s to blame here, but the truth is that there’s plenty to go around, from Orient for not having a better handle on the infection rate within its organization, to the EFL for not mandating — and not providing funds to help with — testing for its lower league clubs, as well as for making forfeiture rules that negatively incentivizes testing during a competition during a time when small clubs are facing the very real prospects of extinction. It’s just crappy all around. But the match should have been cancelled.

It’s worth noting that Tottenham and its supporters have been more than kind during this whole ordeal. Not only did they pay for testing, but there are reports that the club gave Orient money equivalent to what they would’ve earned if the match had gone ahead. Tottenham fans, meanwhile, bought eight times as many Orient shirts as on a typical day, with many of the shirts then donated to a local children’s hospital in London.

The result goes into the books as a 3-0 win, but in a pandemic that is causing a great deal of suffering, nobody’s a winner here, not even Spurs. Tottenham’s next Carabao Cup match is home to Chelsea on Tuesday, September 29.