Tottenham Hotspur have now issued an official statement on the postponement of the North London Derby this weekend, which was due to kick-off at 16:30 on Sunday.
Spurs were set to welcome Arsenal to N17 before the Gunners made a request to the Premier League for the fixture to be moved.
Tottenham have now argued that the postponement rules were originally introduced to help teams cope with positive COVID tests and resulting injuries to the squad.
However, Arsenal’s request was said to include four players away on international duty at the African Cup of Nations, as well as Granit Xhaka being banned. The Gunners also loaned out two players earlier this month.
Arsenal’s request was made on Friday evening, but fans did not hear a final answer from the Premier League until Saturday afternoon. Tottenham were keen to point out the disruption caused to travelling supporters in their statement.
The full statement read: ‘We regret to announce that Sunday’s north London derby against Arsenal has been postponed.
‘This follows an application from Arsenal to the Premier League on the basis of a combination of COVID, existing and recent injuries and players on international duty at the Africa Cup of Nations.
‘We are extremely surprised that this application has been approved.
‘We ourselves were disqualified from the European Conference League after a significant number of COVID cases meant we needed to reschedule a fixture and our application to move our Leicester fixture was not approved – only for it to be subsequently postponed when Leicester applied.
‘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.
‘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.
‘Yet again, fans have seen their plans disrupted at unacceptably short notice.
‘We shall once again send food deliveries to the local food banks to avoid unacceptable waste.
‘We are sincerely sorry for our fans – some of whom will have travelled great distances.’
Spurs Web Opinion:
Unfortunately, clubs are now starting to take advantage of the rules that were originally put in place to help with COVID. Loaning players out, picking up bans, and investing in players who play at AFCON are all club decisions and should not have counted towards the request.
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