Sunday, January 23, 2022

Tottenham Hotspur bounced from Europa Conference League after UEFA declares missed match a forfeit

Tottenham Hotspur’s time in the UEFA Conference League, at least for this season, is officially over. On Monday, UEFA decided that the English club have forfeited their Conference League match against Stade Rennais, originally scheduled for Dec. 9. That match was cancelled following a massive COVID-19 outbreak at the club which saw the game called off just hours before it was set to begin. A 3-0 forfeit to the French side sees Spurs finish in third place in Group G, three points behind second-place Vitesse.

Numerous positives tests resulted in the club’s training ground being closed, while also seeing their Premier League clash against Brighton postponed. Spurs just returned to action on Sunday and earned a 2-2 draw with title challengers Liverpool. 

Spurs had been hoping to have the Rennais game moved to another day this past week after asking the Premier League to reschedule their clash last Thursday with Leicester City to another day. The league denied the request, only for the match against Leicester to be postponed due to COVID.

“Following several positive cases of COVID-19 that were identified from players and staff of Tottenham Hotspur FC, the UEFA Europa Conference League group stage match between Tottenham Hotspur FC and Stade Rennais FC — scheduled to be played on Dec. 9, 2021 in London, United Kingdom — could not be played,” a UEFA statement read.

“The matter was submitted to the UEFA Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body, for a decision to be taken in accordance with Annex J of the Regulations of the UEFA Europa Conference League.

“The Chairman of the UEFA Appeals Body took the following decision: to declare the UEFA Europa Conference League group stage match between Tottenham Hotspur FC and Stade Rennais FC, that was initially scheduled to be played on 9 December 2021, as forfeited by Tottenham Hotspur FC, who is therefore deemed to have lost the match 0-3.”

Spurs needed to win their last match in order to secure second place in the group, which comes with a spot in the knockout round play-offs. While it isn’t an ideal situation, being out of the new competition will allow Spurs to focus on things domestically, which is their priority. The club is currently in seventh place in the table but just six points back of the top four. Antonio Conte’s team is also still alive in the League Cup and yet to play in the FA Cup. 

Outside of the forfeit to Spurs, Tottenham are unbeaten in their last five Premier League games. They’ll play West Ham in the League Cup quarterfinals on Wednesday and then Crystal Palace on Boxing Day, which is Sunday. 

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