Carabao Cup: Tottenham clash with Leyton Orient postponed due to positive COVID-19 tests

Tottenham’s EFL Cup tie against Leyton Orient has been postponed after the League Two side suffered a widespread coronavirus outbreak in their squad.

The two sides are now locked in talks with the EFL over whether Spurs are given a bye into the next round or if the game can be replayed at a later date after a significant number of Orient players tested positive for COVID-19.

Spurs paid for Orient to be tested ahead of Tuesday evening’s game with official confirmation the match would not be played coming just two hours before kick-off.

“Tonight’s Carabao Cup match between Leyton Orient and Tottenham Hotspur is not taking place this evening as scheduled,” an EFL statement read.

“Discussions are ongoing between the relevant stakeholders in regards to the implications of the decision not to play tonight’s game and a further update will be provided in due course.

“Leyton Orient, the EFL and the relevant authorities are conducting a thorough review of the club’s COVID-19 secure procedures with the view to reopening the stadium and training ground as soon as possible.”

Orient have been in lengthy discussions with the EFL and Public Health England ever since their players were tested for COVID-19 in the hours following last Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Mansfield.

The testing of players in the Football League is not mandatory as it is in the Premier League with the authorities believing strict social distancing and hygiene measures to be sufficient.

Sources have told ESPN at least 15 players and staff have tested positive although the exact number is not yet known. The club shut their stadium and training ground as they sought to isolate the individuals involved and identify whether they could put a team together while following EFL protocols.

Sources have told ESPN the EFL initially indicated the tie would be awarded to Tottenham if Orient were unable to fulfil the fixture, as per competition guidelines, but the east London club have argued the exceptional circumstances should not rob them of vital revenue.

The match was due to be shown live on television and Orient owner Nigel Travis told Sky Sports: “We focused the players on getting a cup run this year because like most clubs, the coronavirus has dented our finances significantly. Before the coronavirus, 75% of clubs were losing money. This adds £1.5 million to our losses and this game would have contributed about £150,000 to offset those losses at .

“We think the appropriate action is for this game to take place. Can you imagine the outrage if, say in the fourth round, Spurs and Chelsea [who are due to play each other if both win], one of those teams is impacted in the same way, if the game didn’t take place? Can you imagine the outrage you’d hear on television and radio?

“This clearly is not a good policy, that an organisation like Leyton Orient, following all the guidelines, doing the right thing, if we don’t play the game and we are forced to forfeit it, it is a demonstration that doing the right thing doesn’t work.

“It is an incentive for people not to test and that will only create a bad and worse situation in the football world and probably the UK at large.”

Orient have informed their three most recent opponents, Plymouth, Mansfield and Oldham of the positive tests.

Spurs are in the midst of a gruelling run of fixtures, continuing with a trip to Macedonia tomorrow to face Shkendija on Thursday in the Europa League third qualifying round before hosting Newcastle United in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon.

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