Tottenham were expelled from Europe although they even offered to play several days in a row to play their exceptional Conference Europa League game against Rennes.
Spurs were set to face Rennes on Monday, just 24 hours after facing Liverpool in the Premier League on Sunday, in a proposed solution that would have pushed Antonio Conte’s side to the limit.
But the alternate date was part of a number rejected by the Ligue 1 side, who played on Saturday and are in action for the last time before their winter break on Wednesday, leaving North Londoners to pay the ultimate price of losing their place in Europe. .
UEFA said today that Spurs have withdrawn after the two clubs were unable to agree on a date for the match rearrangement.
And their attribution of a 3-0 win for Rennes doomed Spurs to a third place in Group G and saw them miss a place in the round of 16.
Antonio Conte and Tottenham have been kicked out of the Europa Conference League by UEFA
They were ready to revamp the Rennes game for Monday, December 20, just 24 hours after facing Liverpool at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, but the offer was rejected.
Rennes’ trip to Spurs on December 9 was postponed following a Covid outbreak in Conte’s team and North Londoners were disappointed given efforts to find a compromise rearrangement date.
As well as offering to play two consecutive days, Spurs had also asked to move Premier League games, including last Thursday’s trip to Leicester, so they can face Rennes instead on Wednesday.
This request was pushed back by the Premier League only to have the game eventually called off anyway following an outbreak at Leicester.
Spurs were also set to relinquish the home advantage and play in the game scheduled to take place at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in France.
But none of their proposals were deemed satisfactory by Rennes. They were at first angry that the match was called off after arriving in England, but their refusal to agree on a rearrangement after offering a number of options led to doubts as to their desire to do so. play the game under their own schedule.
UEFA had a deadline of December 31, when any revamped match had to be played.
With Rennes ‘winter break starting this week and Spurs’ December schedule already packed, space was limited to squeeze the game.
A statement from UEFA said: “Following several positive cases of COVID-19 identified among players and staff at Tottenham Hotspur FC, the 2021/22 UEFA Europa Conference League group stage game between Tottenham Hotspur FC and Stade Rennais FC – set to be played on December 9, 2021 in London, UK – could not be played.
“The case has been referred to the UEFA Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body for a decision to be taken in accordance with Annex J of the UEFA Europa Conference League Regulations (season 2021 / 22).
“On the basis of Article 30 (4) of the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations and taking into account the urgent circumstances of the case, the ad hoc chairman of the Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body dismissed the case before the Appeals Body.
“The chairman of the UEFA appeal body has taken the following decision: to declare the 2021/22 UEFA Europa Conference League group stage match between Tottenham Hotspur FC and Stade Rennais FC, which was originally scheduled to be played on December 9, 2021, as canceled by Tottenham Hotspur FC, who are therefore deemed to have lost the game 0-3 in accordance with Annex J.3.1 of the UEFA Europa Conference League Regulations (season 2021/22) . ‘
In a statement, Vitesse Arnhem, who qualified at the expense of Tottenham, said: “The past 11 days have been very bizarre. It’s a very sad situation for Spurs and very unpleasant from a sporting point of view. , the interest of both teams was very great.
France’s Rennes team demanded the cancellation of the Europa League Conference game with Spurs
“We’re happy the confirmation came, but it was a strange end to the group stage. In theory, there could be a call, but early signals say that won’t happen.
UEFA have asked Spurs to move one of their domestic games this month to make room for the Rennes clash and an effort to postpone last week’s trip to Leicester has been rejected by the Premier League before it was finally canceled anyway due to Foxes Covid issues.
Conte argued last week: “We want to play the game. Tottenham deserves to play the game, to play the last game of this group.
“It’s a really strange situation because we didn’t play without fault on our part but because of a big problem and because the government decided to close our training ground, to stop our session. ‘training for three days. “
“We deserve to play this game and try to have a chance to go to the next round. It is not fair that we have to pay for a situation that is not our fault. I understand if we have done something wrong but in this way, for the club, the players, the staff, it is very difficult to understand what is going on.
Eight Tottenham players and five staff members tested positive for Covid and Tottenham detailed 24 hours before the game, with the number of cases rising, that it was not possible to move forward.
Rennes were furious at the late appeal and the French team criticized their opponents for having taken a “unilateral decision”.
The rules of the competition state that a match must be played as long as the team consists of 13 outfielders and a goalkeeper.
Spurs would have roughly enough players available, without Ryan Sessegnon suspended plus their injured and Covid-affected players, to reach that threshold, but they hoped common sense would prevail with their critically weakened squad.
A statement from Rennes then accused Conté’s team of “lack of fair play”.
“Following the press release issued by Tottenham at 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Stade Rennais FC wishes to clarify the following facts,” said the Ligue 1 club.
In a 7:45 p.m. videoconference between representatives of UEFA, Tottenham and SRFC, Spurs director of football (Fabio Paratici) announced his intention not to play in the UEFA Europa Conference League game on Thursday. evening.
“(This is a) unilateral decision which has not been confirmed by UEFA in any way.
Tottenham had to close their training ground earlier this month following a Covid outbreak
“The Tottenham representative did not want to announce the number of players affected by Covid when the rule says a game must be played as long as the team has 13 outfitters and a keeper.
“He pleaded for a decision by the English authorities without putting forward any official document. As the match was not officially canceled by UEFA, Stade Rennais FC upheld their decision to play.
‘Faced with this’ London fog’, the SRFC reserves the right to approach UEFA. This lack of fair play is all the more glaring as Tottenham had confirmed by email that the match would take place in the early afternoon before warning Rennes of their intention not to play just after landing at London City. ‘
Spurs’ chances of being able to come into the game were shattered when UEFA announced last week that it was impossible.
UEFA decided there was no time to play it before the December 31 deadline and therefore had to withdraw.
The news will be a disappointment for boss Antonio Conte as there was hope that a compromise would have been found in the reorganization of the match.
Tottenham were in action against Liverpool on Sunday after a series of postponements
Conte was visibly moved earlier this month when asked about the impact of the outbreak.
“The problem is, every day we have people with Covid,” he said.
“People who yesterday were not positive today are positive and we continue to have contacts. This is a serious problem. Not a good situation. Every day we have something positive.
“Everyone is a little scared because we all have family and (think) why do I have to take this risk?
“There are situations that made me very, very upset, very upset because the situation is serious and contagious and there is a big infection and now, for sure, we are a little afraid because tomorrow we don’t know what’s going on. Today we had the training session, we prepared for the game and yesterday two more positive points, today two more positive points and tomorrow who?
No European football means Tottenham can catch up after a number of games postponed
‘Me? May be. Better me than a player for sure, but I think it’s not good for everyone because we have family and we have contact with them.
Being knocked out of European football for the remainder of the season should allow Tottenham to clear their backlog of games after a flurry of postponements.
Conte’s side are three games behind some of their rivals after postponing games against Leicester and Brighton due to cases of Covid.
They returned to action on Sunday at home against Liverpool, where they finished an exciting 90 minutes with one point after a 2-2 draw.
Following UEFA’s decision to forfeit, a Tottenham spokesperson said: “We are disappointed with the decision of the UEFA Appeals Body and the refusal to allow more time for the match is rescheduled.
“However, we have to come to terms with this decision and we are now focusing on the competitions in which we remain.”