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Tottenham’s ECL match vs. Rennes off after COVID outbreak

Common sense prevails!

Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal - General Views Photo by Jacques Feeney/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Tottenham Hotspur’s Europa Conference League match vs. Rennes is off. The club made an announcement via social media channels and on its website that the match, scheduled for tomorrow evening, has been postponed after an outbreak of COVID-19 within Spurs’ camp that has sidelined eight Tottenham players, and possibly more.

We can confirm that our UEFA Europa Conference League Group G home fixture against Stade Rennais will not take place tomorrow (Thursday 9 December at 8pm UK) after a number of positive COVID-19 cases at the Club. Discussions are ongoing with UEFA and we shall provide a further update on this fixture in due course.

Additionally, following discussions with the Health Security Agency (formerly Public Health England) and DCMS advisers, the Club has been advised to close the First Team area of its Training Centre at this time, in the interests of the health and safety of players and staff.

All other areas of the Training Centre remain operational.

—Statement, Tottenham Hotspur

The wording here is intentionally vague, as it doesn’t really say whether Spurs will be able to reschedule the match or if they will eventually need to forfeit — but it does say the match will not take place tomorrow.

This clearly is the best and smartest thing to do. Until the past few hours, all indications were that the match was going to go ahead, as UEFA regulations state pretty clearly that there are only limited circumstances under which a European match can be postponed or cancelled. According to some online sources, there were internal conversations within Spurs’ leadership about whether to forfeit the match if UEFA demanded that it go ahead.

Instead, it will be postponed to later this month, hopefully when Spurs’ COVID-positive players have had time to fully recover. It’s the right decision, both from a public health perspective and from sheer common sense.

Tottenham has already applied to the Premier League board to postpone Sunday’s match at Brighton & Hove Albion, an application that will almost certainly be granted. It means Spurs’ next match would be the mid-week match vs. Leicester, or if that one also doesn’t go ahead, Sunday, December 19 against Liverpool. It also means that Spurs now have to cram three additional matches (assuming the Rennes match is rescheduled) into an already crowded fixture calendar at some point. But that’s a problem for another time. The important thing is that the affected players are able to get the treatment they need to make full recoveries, and that this outbreak spreads to as few other people as possible.