Leyton Orient could be Punished For Covid Outbreak! by Dan Smith
Two weeks ago Jose Mourinho was claiming a conspiracy against his team when their League Cup tie was arranged two days before a trip in the Europa League. As a manager who takes both competitions seriously and under pressure to end Spur’s trophy drought, he was using the Pandemic as a ready-made excuse just in case he failed to win silverware.
At a time where the whole world is having to adapt, he accused the FA of not wanting his team to win the Carabao Cup as a reason to have the third-round date the same midweek they flew to Macedonia. Including trips to Bulgaria, Southampton, Leyton Orient, Macedonia, then Newcastle, that’s 5 away fixtures in two weeks.
Everyone knows the reasons. Due to lockdown, the 2019/ 20 season was late to finish, meaning this campaign’s start was delayed. It has to end by next summer due to the Euros. Meaning that everyone at Project Restart had a choice. Agree to a year of cramming games into a hectic schedule or void football.
When it was suggested back in March that it wasn’t practical for Sport to resume, owners were willing to do anything to get games played, no matter what. So don’t cry now.
It makes me angry that some in the game want everything their way, especially considering the compromises others around the world are facing, far more serious than a fixture list.
In reality Tottenham have the squad to rotate and still best a League Two side and win in two random parts of Eastern Europe. It is actually sick that a coach would hide behind Covid. He knows the unique reason teams are playing every few days, and knows the Europa League Qualifiers are a consequence of only finishing 6th in the League.
So the Portuguese boss must be delighted he got his way. The visit to Orient was postponed due to an outbreak of the virus at Brisbane Road. Not just did that mean his side played only once in midweek but they have been given a bye into the next round.
The irony, the man who said there was a witch hunt to stop Spurs winning the Carabao Cup, is simply put into the last 16. Can you imagine if Spurs were knocked out if the same thing happened to them?
But guess what? Nothing’s been said. No offer of a replay. No talk of integrity. No insistence that Spurs want to play the tie. Certainly zero talk now of personal agendas.
The same person who kicks up that the calendar is unfair, says nothing about fairness when a club are thrown out due to players being ill. The O’s were a win away from facing Chelsea which could have been precious TV revenue. They lose out on that for an outbreak of a virus.
The cruel irony is Orient only took the test because of Spurs’ generosity. The Premier League have made it compulsory for testing to be done in the top flight but because of cost, that’s yet to include the lower divisions. So most Prem clubs in these ties have been offering testing to their opponents as it’s been paid for anyway.
The likes of Hull for example were criticised for not taking West Ham up on their offer.
Leyton Orient on the other hand do the right thing and safeguard their staff, yet it’s bizarrely cost them their place in the Cup. If they had played, won but the virus had spread, surely that’s worse?
That’s not how you would read into this decision. Let’s say Newport got to a semi-final and they were at the Etihad and City ask would their players like to be tested for free?
I would want the FA, sponsors, everyone to do everything to encourage them that the correct thing to do is take the test. Yet now they know by taking that test, you could miss Man City away or even Wembley. How can that be right? If this were a bigger club treated this way there would be uproar.
It’s not Spurs’ fault of course. Yet if they go on to win the Cup, I wonder if Jose will admit they got an unfair bye? Not bad when you consider there is an agenda against you?