Antonio Conte says Tottenham has 13 positive Covid-19 cases among players and staff | Football news – Community News
Covid-19

Antonio Conte says Tottenham has 13 positive Covid-19 cases among players and staff | Football news

Antonio Conte has confirmed that eight Tottenham first team players and five staffers have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Spurs host Rennes in the Europa Conference League on Thursday, with UEFA regulations implying that the match cannot be postponed unless a club has fewer than 13 players or has no registered goalkeeper available.

A win over their French opposition, who are already assured of finishing at the top of the group, is required for any chance of qualifying for the last 32, but Conte expects more confirmed cases.

“The situation makes me very upset because the situation is serious,” Conte said.

“It’s contagious and there’s a big infection. Now we’re a little scared because we don’t know what will happen tomorrow.”

All matches in the European group stage are due to be completed by the end of 2021, with the club already dealing with a busy festive schedule, leaving no clear moment to reschedule the game.

Conte said he was preparing for Thursday’s game with 11 players in training on Wednesday, with one of those players later testing positive with a staffer, describing the situation as “so strange and unbelievable”.

Those cases followed two similar results Tuesday after the initial outbreak.

Conte has not revealed whether the club will contact the Premier League about Sunday’s game in Brighton about a possible postponement.

The Italian added: “Tomorrow, who? Me? I don’t know. Better me than a player for sure. It’s not for everyone because we’ll be in touch with our family when we get home.”

Can Spurs’ PL game against Brighton be postponed?

In the Premier League, the 2021-22 handbook states that no permission will be given to postpone a league game if a club has 14 or more players on the squad.

However, the postponement of league matches is considered on a case-by-case basis and the decision is made by the Premier League board if a request is received from a club.

Postponement of league matches is considered on a case-by-case basis and the decision is made by the Premier League board when a request is received from a club.

Spurs midfielder Pierre-Emile HĂžjbjerg was also expected to attend the pre-match press conference, but Conte single-handedly addressed the media.

“This definitely upsets me because I’m here to talk about football, my players and the atmosphere I want to see tomorrow,” said Conte.

“Instead, we’re talking about the people who have Covid.”

Conte couldn’t confirm if it was the Omicron variant at the center of the outbreak, but revealed he had been vaccinated.

On vaccinations within the squad, the Spurs boss added: “I think everyone makes (their own) best decision and it is a question for the medical department about people whether they have been vaccinated or not.”

Tottenham have won 10 points from Conte’s first four Premier League games in charge, but the Italian side were humiliated by NS Mura in their previous Europa Conference League game.

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Tottenham matches: what’s coming?

Dec 9: Tottenham vs Rennes – Europa League, 8pm kick-off

12 December: Brighton vs Tottenham – Premier League, kick-off 2pm

Dec 16: Leicester vs Tottenham – Premier League, kick-off 7.30pm

Dec 19: Tottenham vs Liverpool – Premier League, kickoff 4.30pm, live on air sports

Dec 22: Tottenham vs West Ham – Carabao Cup, kick-off at 7:45pm, live on air sports

Dec 26: Tottenham vs Crystal Palace – Premier League, kick-off 3:00 PM

Mixed messages in football: When will a match be postponed due to Covid?

Kieran Tierney shows his frustration at the Brentford Community Stadium
Image:
Kieran Tierney shows his frustration at the Brentford Community Stadium

In the Premier League, the 2021-22 handbook states that no permission will be given to postpone a league game if a club has 14 or more players on the squad.

However, the postponement of league matches is considered on a case-by-case basis and the decision is made by the Premier League board if a request is received from a club.

Last season, the Premier League postponed six games due to Covid-19 cases at clubs, including Spurs’ game against Fulham, which was canceled on the day of the game.

However, on opening day of this season, Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta was surprised that his side’s Premier League opener against Brentford was not postponed following a serious Covid-19 outbreak at the club.

Arsenal's starting line-up against Brentford on opening day
Image:
Arsenal’s starting line-up against Brentford on opening day

The Gunners were 2-0 down without Alexandre Lacazette, Alex Runarsson, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Willian after they confirmed all four had contracted Covid-19.

“Yes, I was surprised, but the regulators decided it was best to play the game,” said Arteta.

But while the Premier League season opener in England continued, even with several first-team players banned, the story in Scotland was very different.

In November, Hibernian’s Premiership games against Ross County and Livingston were postponed after two Hibs players tested positive.

What about all of Europe?

In Portugal, the show has to go on, it seems, or at least until just after the break.

Last month, the match between Benfica and Belenenses was called off amid extraordinary scenes after the Covid-stricken Primeira Liga wrestlers were forced to name a squad of just nine players, including two goalkeepers.

The visitors scored seven goals at halftime, before Belenenses returned with just seven players.

Belenenses started with just nine plyaers against Benfica (Getty)
Image:
Belenenses started with just nine plyaers against Benfica (Getty)

The game was then stopped a minute into the second half when goalkeeper Joao Monteiro fell to the ground, forcing the referee to stop the game due to the minimum number of players not on the pitch.

After a positive test in the squad earlier this week, a total of 17 cases were reported among players and staff. Despite the roster being decimated, the game went on with just nine players selected and goalkeeper Monteiro in midfield.

Manchester City and Portuguese midfielder Bernardo Silva looked on and tweeted in disbelief: “What’s this? Am I the only one who doesn’t understand why the game hasn’t been postponed?”