Tottenham's Brighton clash postponed after Covid outbreak
London (AFP) – Tottenham's Premier League game at Brighton on Sunday has been postponed due to a severe coronavirus outbreak at the north London club.
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Eight Tottenham players and five staff members have tested positive for the virus, forcing the postponement of Thursday's Europa Conference League tie against Rennes.
Tottenham asked Premier League chiefs to postpone this weekend's trip to the Amex Stadium as well and their request was granted on Thursday.
"We can confirm that our Premier League fixture at Brighton & Hove Albion, on Sunday 12 December at 2pm, has been postponed following a Premier League Board meeting this afternoon (Thursday)," a Tottenham statement said.
"The Premier League Board took the decision to postpone the game following guidance from medical advisers, with the health of players and staff the priority. The fixture will be rescheduled in due course.
"The club requested the match to be rearranged following a significant number of positive COVID-19 cases among players and relevant staff.
"We should like to apologise to everyone at Stade Rennais and Brighton & Hove Albion and to both their supporters and ours for any inconvenience caused."
Tottenham were forced to close their first-team training centre on Wednesday as a result of the outbreak.
Their Premier League match at Leicester next Thursday will also be in doubt, not only because of the situation in Antonio Conte's squad but because the Foxes have been hit by a less widespread Covid outbreak.
In response to Tottenham's virus problems, the Premier League are reported to have told their 20 clubs to resume emergency protocols to combat the spread of the Omicron variant.
Clubs with high vaccination rates had relaxed some of the measures but must now reimpose restrictions after the British government announced a return to stricter protocols on Wednesday.
The Premier League protocols include social distancing, wearing masks in indoor areas, therapy taking no longer than 15 minutes and medical staff required to be wearing full PPE when in contact with players.
The new rules also include fans having to show proof of double vaccination or a negative test to attend sporting events with crowds of more than 10,000 people in England.
Conte was visibly emotional about the outbreak in his press conference ahead of the Rennes game on Wednesday.
"The problem is that every day we are having people with Covid," Conte said.
"People that yesterday weren't positive, today were positive and we continue to have contact with people we think are negative but the day after become positive. I think this is a serious problem.
"The situation is serious and it is contagious and there is a big infection and now for sure we are a bit scared because tomorrow we don't know what happens."
The postponement of further games will cause significant scheduling problems for Tottenham, who have already had a Premier League game at Burnley in November called off because of snow.
Discussions regarding the rescheduling of the game with Rennes are ongoing with UEFA, with rules stating there is a December 31 deadline for group games to be completed.
It is understood there could be some room for manoeuvre on that as Tottenham have a packed domestic schedule heading into the new year.
Rennes go on a winter break on December 22 and the French club have not taken the postponement of Thursday's game well.
They accused Spurs of causing "London fog" by refusing to tell them how many cases they had and informing them in the afternoon that the game would be played, only to call it off an hour after they had arrived in the capital.
The Ligue 1 club, who returned to France on Thursday, later said they "hope the interests of the club will be respected" regarding a possible rearrangement.
© 2021 AFP