Tottenham OUT of Europa Conference League following UEFA decision

Simon Winter
In a major development, UEFA have declared that Tottenham Hotspur have forfeited their Europa Conference League match against Rennes and are subsequently out of the competition.

A Covid outbreak ripped through the Tottenham camp, affecting nine first team players, five members of staff and numerous U23 players ahead of the clubs’ clash with French side Rennes, and the Londoners announced that they would be unable to complete the game.

Spurs’ games against Brighton and Leicester City in the Premier League were also called off due to the outbreak, though Tottenham were able to fulfil their match with Liverpool on Sunday.

However, now UEFA have announced that Tottenham won’t be allowed to replay their crucial tie with Rennes and as a consequence, Antonio Conte’s charges have exited the Europa Conference League competition.

UEFA’s official statement

In an official statement, UEFA said: “Following several positive cases of COVID-19 that were identified from players and staff of Tottenham Hotspur FC, the 2021/22 UEFA Europa Conference League group stage match between Tottenham Hotspur FC and Stade Rennais FC – scheduled to be played on 9 December 2021 in London, United Kingdom – could not be played,” read their statement.

“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 (2021/22 Season). Based on the Article 30 (4) of the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations and given the urgent circumstances of the matter, the ad-hoc chairman of the Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body referred the case to the Appeals Body.

“The Chairman of the UEFA Appeals Body took the following decision: To declare the 2021/22 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 in accordance with Annex J.3.1 to the Regulations of the UEFA Europa Conference League (2021/22 Season).”

Spurs dumped out of Europe

The forfeited fixture and 3-0 scorline in favour of Rennes leaves Tottenham in third spot in Group G and out of the tournament as a result, though the Ligue 1 outfit will feel like justice has been done.

Rennes were angry at Tottenham’s late decision to call off the December 9 contest and accused Conte’s side of a ‘lack of fair play’.

In a critical statement after the cancellation, Rennes said: “Following the press release published by Tottenham at 9pm, this Wednesday, Stade Rennais FC would like to clarify the following facts,’ the Ligue 1 club said.

“In a video conference at 7.45pm between representatives of UEFA, Tottenham and SRFC, the Spurs director of football (Fabio Paratici) announced their intention not to play the UEFA Europa Conference League game on Thursday evening.

“(This is a) unilateral decision which has not been confirmed by UEFA in any way.

“The Tottenham representative did not want to announce the number of players affected by Covid when the rule states that a match must be played as long as the team has 13 outfielders and a keeper.

“He argued for a decision by the English authorities without advancing any official document. As the match was not officially cancelled by UEFA, Stade Rennais FC upheld their decision to play.

“Faced with this “London fog”, the SRFC reserves the right to approach UEFA. This lack of fair play is all the more glaring as Tottenham had confirmed by email that the match would be held at the start of the afternoon before warning Rennes of their intention not to play just after their landing in London City.”

Spurs’ hopes of being able to replay out the match were doused when UEFA announced it was impossible.

UEFA ruled that there was no time to play it before the December 31 deadline and so they have subsequently had to forfeit.

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