September 23 – A fourth-tier English club are waiting anxiously to discover whether their lucrative League Cup tie against top-flight Tottenham Hotspur can go ahead after a raft of their players tested positive for Covid-19.
Leyton Orient’s game with Spurs was postponed on Tuesday but the club are hoping it won’t be cancelled altogether following discussions with health authorities and the English Football League.
Under the competition’s rules, Orient should forfeit the tie, with Spurs progressing to next week’s fourth-round but Orient chairman Nigel Travis commented: “We’re going to lose £2.5million this year, also anything that can help us reduce that loss is clearly important. We are struggling, so games like this have to take place.”
“This game is worth £150,000 profit to us, so we have to play this game.”
“I recognise the guidelines and we have spoken to the league about extenuating circumstances. I can assure you, we will not be the first club facing this this year. Even Man City had a player test positive recently.”
Whilst Orient will gain considerable sympathy if the game is called off entirely, there has to be some consistency.
With one or two exceptions, clubs in the non-league section of the English football pyramid automatically forfeit games when they, too, have been hit by positive Covid-19 cases. Many believe it only fair therefore that Orient suffer the same fate, whether or not they are a professional outfit.
But Travis argued: “We expect this game to be played and we will campaign very strongly for this game to be played. Clubs of our size depend on games like this.”
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