Tottenham COVID-19 outbreak: Antonio Conte squad ‘afraid’ as cases mount, upcoming games in doubt – Community News
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Tottenham COVID-19 outbreak: Antonio Conte squad ‘afraid’ as cases mount, upcoming games in doubt

A visibly concerned Antonio Conte said he and his Tottenham squad were anxious to get to work as a COVID-19 outbreak rips through the squad.

Eight players and five staffers have tested positive for COVID-19, with Conte revealing that number has risen daily. The Spurs are expected to ask for their Premier League game against Brighton on Sunday to be postponed, but they could be forced to play the Europa Conference League game against Rennes on Thursday. If they are able to name a team of 13 senior players from their A-list, including one goalkeeper, UEFA regulations dictate that they must play the game.

Conte did not clarify whether tomorrow’s game against Rennes would go ahead, but made it clear that he was concerned not only about the execution of the game schedules, but also the safety of players and staff. He then added that Tottenham have 11 players available.

“The problem is that every day we have people with COVID, people who weren’t positive yesterday were today and we continue to connect with people who we think are negative but turn positive the day after,” he said. “I think this is a serious problem.

“The situation is serious. Every day we have a positive point. Today a player and a staff member. I think the worst thing is that we don’t know and we continue to keep in touch with people. This is certainly not a good situation. We have a We have had training, we have prepared the match against Rennes, but it is very difficult to face. At the end of today’s training, another player was positive. Another member of staff is positive.

“Tomorrow, who? Me? Another player? Another staff member? This is how we continue.

“This is not a good thing for me, our fans, for all football.”

Postponing Sunday’s game is at the discretion of the Premier League. However, UEFA regulations are clear about the conditions in which they must live up to their match against Rennes. Unless the Spurs have “less than 13 players registered on the A-list or no registered goalkeeper is available”, they must play.

“I don’t have to message anyone,” Conte said. “The situation is very clear. Every day we are in contact with people who are false negatives and become positives and everyone is a little scared. We have family. Why do I have to take this risk? Tomorrow, who? I don’t. You sure better me than a player.

“It is not good for everyone because we have family and we are in touch with our family when we get home. It is a pity that today at the press conference I have to speak about a different situation and not about football…Today to speak about football is impossible. This situation has made me very upset. I think the situation is serious. There is a big infection. Now we are definitely a little scared. Tomorrow we don’t know what will happen.”

Conte ended his press conference after just five questions, noting that his players and staff had come into contact with players who would then test positive.

“Today we prepared the game with one player who should play, we finished the training and this player was positive,” added Conte. “The situation is so strange and unbelievable that talking about football is very impossible. This definitely upsets me. I’m here to talk about football, my players, the atmosphere we want to see tomorrow. Instead, we’re talking about people who have COVID.”

In purely practical terms, dropping the Brighton game from their schedule adds to the complexity Spurs face around their fixture list. Last weekend’s trip to Burnley had already been postponed due to snowfall in Lancashire; should their request be successful, Tottenham would have played two fewer Premier League games than almost any other team.

There is certainly no direct window to play any of the matches. Thursday brings a trip to Leicester City before they host Liverpool in the Premier League on Sunday. Then follows a quarter-final of the EFL Cup against West Ham United and a dive into the hectic Christmas program list of English football.

Should the Premier League board give the green light to Tottenham’s request, this will be the first game to be moved in the 2021-2022 season due to COVID-19, amid growing fears surrounding the Omicron variant in the UK Kingdom. The opening game of the season between Brentford and Arsenal was equally in doubt due to a late breakout in the latter’s camp that affected four players. A formal request was never made, however, after the Premier League made it clear it didn’t want the first game in front of a packed stadium to be covered by the coronavirus for nearly 18 months.

Earlier this week, the Premier League confirmed there had been 12 positives from 3,154 players and club staff from Monday to Sunday of last week.


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