Tottenham have slammed the Premier League’s decision to postpone Sunday’s clash with Arsenal, calling for clarity on the coronavirus-related rules.
Like last season, the top flight has once again been heavily affected by Covid-19, this time the Omicron wave. Indeed, a flurry of matches have suffered postponement in recent weeks.
The Premier League rules state that they will rearrange a match if a team cannot field 13 outfield players and a goalkeeper. Those players must come from their squad list or be “appropriately experienced” Under-21s players.
Tottenham and Arsenal have both had matches postponed. Arsenal still have to play Wolves at some point, while Tottenham are awaiting news on matches with Brighton and Burnley.
However, on Saturday, the Premier League announced the postponement of Sunday’s north London derby. The Gunners claimed a lack of options due to coronavirus, existing and recent injuries and players at the Africa Cup of Nations.
Shortly after, Tottenham released a statement on their website slamming the decision. They claimed that the club feel “extremely surprised” at the postponement.
Spurs added that they do not think the rules have been followed completely correctly.
“The original intention of the guidance – here – was to deal with player availability directly affected by COVID cases, resulting in depleted squads that when taken together with injuries would result in the club being unable to field a team,” the statement read.
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“We do not believe it was the intent to deal with player availability unrelated to COVID.
“We may now be seeing the unintended consequences of this rule.
“It is important to have clarity and consistency on the application of the rule.”
Spurs went on to claim further confusion relating to the application of the rules. Antonio Conte’s side could not fulfil their final Europa Conference League group stage game in December amid their coronavirus outbreak.
They subsequently applied to rearrange a clash with Leicester. The Premier League rejected Spurs’ application – “only for it to be subsequently postponed when Leicester applied,” the statement added.
Gary Neville slams decision
Discussing the potential postponement of the north London derby on Friday, Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher called for Premier League teams to fulfil their fixtures and play younger talents in the event of a lengthy absence list.
Neville wrote after the decision: “Game off. What started out as postponements due to a pandemic has now become about clubs not having their best team.
“The Premier League must stop this now, draw a line in the sand and say all games go ahead unless you have an exceptional amount of CV cases. It’s wrong.”
Tottenham added that the Premier League has postponed the game at “unacceptably short notice” for fans.