Coronavirus: Leyton Orient vs Tottenham in Carabao Cup called off after positive tests
Last Updated: 22/09/20 6:53pm
Tottenham's Carabao Cup game at Leyton Orient is off due to positive coronavirus tests at the League Two club, with Orient owner Nigel Travis critical of the decision and warning it may encourage clubs not to test players.
Orient were set to host the Premier League side on Tuesday night, live on Sky Sports, but were forced to call off the game and close their Breyer Group Stadium and training ground until further notice.
Testing, paid for by Tottenham, was carried out following the O's 2-2 draw against Mansfield on Saturday.
"Discussions are ongoing between the relevant stakeholders in regards to the implications of the decision not to play tonight's game and a further update will be provided in due course," the English Football League (EFL) said in a statement on Tuesday afternoon.
"Leyton Orient, the EFL and the relevant authorities are conducting a thorough review of the club's Covid-19 secure procedures with the view to reopening the stadium and training ground as soon as possible."
EFL clubs no longer have to conduct mandatory tests on their players and staff for coronavirus on a weekly basis this season, as is still the case in the Premier League.
Both Plymouth Argyle, who Orient beat in last week's Carabao Cup second-round tie, and last Saturday's league opposition Mansfield issued statements on Monday saying they will take an additional round of testing as a precaution.
Given Tottenham's packed fixture schedule, with a Europa League tie on Thursday in Macedonia and potentially another next week if they triumph at Shkendija, the Premier League side also have little room to rearrange the third-round tie.
Round four of the tournament is due to take place the week commencing September 28, with either Leyton Orient or Tottenham set to face the winner of the game between Chelsea and Barnsley.
There is a growing feeling among some Premier League clubs that cup competitions involving teams outside the Premier League and the Championship are a risk because of the lack of testing in those divisions.
The cup tie was set to be an emotional fixture for the two clubs given the connection of the late Justin Edinburgh, who died last June at the age of 49 following a cardiac arrest.
Edinburgh won the FA Cup and League Cup at Spurs in the 1990s before turning his hand to management and guiding the O's to the National League title in April 2019.
Tottenham announced plans to auction off signed, match-worn shirts from the Leyton Orient game in aid of the Justin Edinburgh Foundation.Orient owner: Spurs bye not an option
Leyton Orient owner Nigel Travis told Sky Sports:
"We've said to the [Football] League [that the game has to go ahead at some point]. I've said it publicly and I reiterate it here - we think the appropriate action is for this game to take place. Can you imagine the outrage if say in the fourth round, Spurs vs Chelsea... one of those teams were impacted in the same way and the game didn't take place?
"Can you imagine the outrage that you'd hear on Sky Sports and on the radio stations? This clearly is not a good policy. Leyton Orient have followed all the guidelines and have done the right things. If we don't play the game and we're forced to forfeit it, it is a demonstration that doing the right thing doesn't work.
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"It is an incentive for people not to test, and that will only create a worse situation in the football world and in the UK at large. I would encourage everyone to think this through and allow us to play the game. We need to see some flexibility and Spurs were set to play four games this week anyway. With a flexible schedule, we can get this game played.
"The biggest point, and this extends far beyond Leyton Orient, is that you cannot incentivise people not to test, and this is the result of what will happen. And it may well be that the issues we've got with Covid at our club were caused by reasons outside of our control.
"We're getting punished and I would encourage more testing because we shouldn't incentivise people not to test."
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