Football: Spurs handed bye into League Cup last 16 against Chelsea after coronavirus cases at Orient

Football: Spurs handed bye into League Cup last 16 against Chelsea after coronavirus cases at Orient

(REUTERS, AFP) – Tottenham Hotspur have advanced to the League Cup fourth round via a bye after their match against Leyton Orient was called off due to a number of Orient players testing positive for the coronavirus, the English Football League (EFL) said on Friday (Sept 25).

Spurs’ third-round match against Orient was cancelled on Tuesday, a day after the fourth-tier club revealed the positive tests and closed their Breyer Group Stadium and training ground facilities until further notice.

“Tottenham Hotspur have been awarded with a bye to progress to round four… and will now play Chelsea on Tuesday, Sept 29,” the EFL said in a statement. “This followed a number of Leyton Orient players testing positive for Covid-19.

“The Board has determined that in line with Rule 5.1, (Orient) was unable to fulfil its obligations to complete the fixture… and shall therefore forfeit the tie.”

The news is a blow for Orient owner Nigel Travis, who had said his team needed the financial boost that accompanies a home fixture against one of the English Premier League’s leading lights.

“The coronavirus has added £1.5 million (S$2.6 million) to our losses and this game would have contributed about £150,000 to offset those losses so this is a big blow,” he said after Tuesday’s cancellation.

“We think the appropriate action is for this game to take place. If we don’t play the game and are forced to forfeit, it’s a demonstration that doing the right thing doesn’t work. It would be an incentive not to test.”

Orient’s League Two match against Walsall, which was due to take place on Saturday, has also been called off as their squad self-isolate, with the EFL planning to announce a revised date for the fixture.

Spurs will now prepare for four games in eight days, starting with the visit of Newcastle on Sunday. Jose Mourinho’s men then travel to Chelsea on Tuesday, host Maccabi Haifa in Europa League qualifying on Thursday and travel to Manchester United a week on Sunday.