Tottenham's COVID crisis: Europa Conference League clash vs. Rennes postponed amid rising cases

Tottenham Hotspur have said their UEFA Europa Conference League clash against Stade Rennais has been postponed after eight players and five staff tested positive for COVID-19, the club announced on Wednesday.

In a later statement on Wednesday night, however, Rennes accused Tottenham of a "lack of fair play" and dismissed the postponement as a "unilateral decision which has not been confirmed by UEFA in any way".

Spurs head coach Antonio Conte had said earlier on Wednesday he was "scared" about the consequences of a COVID-19 outbreak and raised major doubts about the club's ability to fulfil its upcoming fixtures.

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The Tottenham statement read: "We can confirm that our UEFA Europa Conference League Group G home fixture against Stade Rennais will not take place tomorrow (Thursday, Dec. 9, 8 p.m. GMT (3 p.m. ET)) after a number of positive COVID-19 cases at the Club. Discussions are ongoing with UEFA and we shall provide a further update on this fixture in due course.

"Additionally, following discussions with the Health Security Agency (formerly Public Health England) and DCMS advisers, the Club has been advised to close the First Team area of its Training Centre at this time, in the interests of the health and safety of players and staff."

Rennes have already secured their place in the round of 16 after securing their spot at the top of Group G, while Spurs have a chance to qualify for the knockout round playoffs with a win/draw.

The Ligue 1 side have travelled to London ahead of the fixture and released their own statement claiming that they have upheld their decision to play and the match has not been officially cancelled by UEFA.

Conte's side sit second in the group, level on points with Dutch side SBV Vitesse, making their home game against Rennes crucial if they want to progress. They will need to match Vitesse's score against Slovenien side NS Mura, which is still set to go ahead on Dec. 9, to make the playoffs.

The rising COVID cases are also a concern for Spur's Premier League game against Brighton & Hove Albion on Sunday, with sources telling ESPN that the north London side will push for a formal postponement of this fixture.