Tottenham out of Europa Conference League as UEFA confirm walkover decision

Antonio Conte managing Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham Hotspur are no longer in the Europa Conference League after UEFA confirmed their cancelled clash with Rennes as a 3-0 walkover defeat.

Spurs were one of the favourites for Europe’s new tertiary competition at the outset of the season. But they won’t even be in the knockout stages after coming third in their group with seven points.

They had to wait to find out where they would finish after their last group game was postponed. Their home fixture against Rennes on 9th December was called off due to a number of Covid-19 cases in the Spurs squad.

With no time to fit the fixture in, UEFA have been working out how to award the points. Any glimmer of hope Tottenham had of staying in the tournament has now faded, though.

UEFA have confirmed that the game will go down as a 3-0 walkover win for Rennes. It means the French side win the group, with Vitesse finishing in second place above Tottenham.

Antonio Conte’s side will therefore have no European commitments in the New Year. Their target is to qualify for continental competition again for next season.

UEFA statement confirms Tottenham exit

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A UEFA statement confirmed: “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.

“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).”

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Tottenham were back in action on Sunday against Liverpool in the Premier League. It followed further postponed fixtures against Brighton and Leicester.

Spurs earned a 2-2 draw against Liverpool in a game shrouded by refereeing controversy.

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Tottenham to worry rivals under Conte

After the game, Tottenham earned praise from pundit Gary Neville. He noticed how the new coach Conte has transformed their fortunes already.

“He’s a great manager. You can see the influence he’s had on this group. The energy compared to how they were before. The stadium is electric, and it was brilliant in here all the way through the game,” Neville told his Sky Sports podcast.

“You can see him on the touchline. The emotions. He cares passionately and is desperate to win.

“He’ll be disappointed with the chances missed because I think he set up his team perfectly, but also proud and realise he’s got a good group of players here. We started to question that over the last 12-18 months.

“Were this team over the hill and were they spent under Mauricio Pochettino and as good as it can get? But they’ve shown a performance today that can tell us they can really be competitive and push for the top four.

“It will strike a little bit of fear into Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal, West Ham. And all the others with aspirations to be up there. This Tottenham team are going to be real in the next four to five months.”

The fact they no longer have European duties to juggle may work to their advantage too.

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