Mon. May 16th, 2022

Daily mail

French side Rennes have told UEFA that they want their Europa Conference League clash with Tottenham to be cancelled after confirmation the game was postponed.

Spurs’s final Group G game was due to take place tonight but has been postponed due to a Covid outbreak in the north Londoners’ camp.

The Ligue 1 side originally disputed Tottenham’s claim and said they wanted the match to go ahead as planned, before later releasing a statement apologising to their fans that the match could not go ahead.

Ouest France, as per French Football News, have reported that Tottenham are proposing that the match could be moved to next Wednesday.

This would likely mean their Premier League game with Leicester a day later would also have to be moved. 

Rennes, though, are said to have told UEFA they have no intention of accepting the new date and are furious with the Premier League side having already travelled to London after being told the game would go ahead.  

Sportsmail broke the news on Wednesday evening that the Europa Conference League match was to be called off. And Spurs announced the news at 9pm due to ‘a number of Covid cases at the club’.

Rennes responded furiously with their own statement, claiming Spurs refused to reveal the number of players affected by Covid-19 when competition rules state a match must be played as long as the team has 13 outfield players and a goalkeeper.

‘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.’

Spurs officials had been in talks with UEFA on Wednesday with a view to getting the game halted after the club reported 17 Covid cases — eight players and nine members of staff. The outbreak is also understood to have reached the Under 23 squad. 

Spurs were understood to have just about enough players available, without the suspended Ryan Sessegnon plus their injured and Covid-affected players, to meet that threshold.

Rennes issued a short statement in the hours after the game’s postponement saying that they have returned home to Brittany. 

The statement read: ‘After being informed of the cancellation of tonight’s match by UEFA, Stade Rennais FC decided to return to Brittany. The entire delegation that will board at London City Airport has tested negative.

‘Stade Rennais FC hope that the interests of the club will be respected given the important sporting deadlines that await the Rouge et Noir this December. The group is now focusing on the Nice Sunday reception at Roazhon Park.

‘Stade Rennais FC is deeply sorry for the Rennes fans who decided to come to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium to cheer on the Rouge et Noir.’

UEFA are now working with both clubs to find a new date. UEFA’s regulations state all group games have to be completed by the end of the year. 

But due to both clubs’ schedules for the remainder of this month one option being considered is easing the requirement for the match to be played by December 31.

By Nwosu Chizoba David

Nwosu Chizoba David is a soccer lover and writer. He is a graduate of Biological Sciences, presently teaching in a secondary in Lagos.

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