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Spurs out of Europa Conference League after Rennes forfeit

premier league tottenham hotspur v liverpool
Fans get their Covid passes checked outside the Tottenham Hotspur stadium on Sunday

Tottenham have been eliminated from the Europa Conference League after UEFA announced that the club’s postponed fixture against Rennes would be deemed as a forfeit.

The clash at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium was due to be played on December 9 but was called off after a Covid-19 outbreak among the Spurs squad.

UEFA had already stated the game would not be replayed and their latest ruling saw Antonio Conte’s side lose the match 3-0 via forfeit, meaning they finished third in Group G.

Spurs also had Premier League fixtures against Brighton and Leicester called off as the surge in Covid cases among top-flight squads continues to affect the calendar.

UEFA’s ruling means there will be no European football for the club in the new year, with a statement on Monday confirming the outcome.

“Following several positive cases of Covd-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,” it read.

“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 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).”

Reacting to the news, a Tottenham spokesperson said: “We are disappointed by the ruling of the UEFA Appeals Body and the refusal to allow more time for the match to be rescheduled. We have to accept this ruling, however, and our focus now turns to the competitions we remain in.”

Rennes’ statement on the eve of the cancelled fixture said that in a video conference with them and UEFA, Tottenham “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”. They accused Tottenham of causing “London fog”.

Earlier in the day, Conte had revealed eight players and five members of staff had tested positive for Covid-19.

Rennes were already assured of top spot in Group G but advance alongside Vitesse as Spurs finished third with just seven points.

Conte’s side returned to action for the first time since December 5 as they drew 2-2 with Liverpool on Sunday afternoon in a game dominated by VAR drama.

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