Tottenham Hotspur boss Antonio Conte calls Premier League a ‘mess’ after postponement decisions
According to Football.london, Tottenham Hotspur manager Antonio Conte has labelled the current state of the Premier League a ‘mess’ and believes that the rule makers have ‘totally changed the vision’, as he addressed the league’s decision on postponing matches.
The previous weekend saw yet another of our Premier League fixtures being postponed, with the North London derby called off on Arsenal’s behest. Despite having only one Covid case at the time, the league agreed to push the fixture as they claimed the Gunners fell below the available player limit due to injuries and participation in the Africa Cup of Nations.
The Spurs boss vented his frustrations at the decision, saying that it was the first time he had ever seen a league postpone a match due to injuries.
“I think that it is a mess now but this is the truth. Yes you have to learn to laugh, you have to laugh because they have totally changed the vision. It’s a tough period, but at the same time I think we have to face the situation and if there is important cases of Covid in the teams then it’s right to postpone the game.”
Last month, the Lilywhites saw up to nine first-team players testing positive for Covid, along with several coaching staff. The club had to close down their training ground for a week to contain the virus outbreak, with upcoming Premier League and UEFA Conference League matches against Leicester City and Rennes, respectively.
The club made a request to the Premier League to postpone their original match against Leicester in order to put out some kind of team to face Rennes that week. However, what followed spelt disaster for Spurs after the Premier League rejected their request and UEFA subsequently decided to award the European tie to Rennes, meaning Spurs were knocked out of the Conference League for failing to play their final group stage match.
In addition to all this, the Premier League then decided to postpone the Leicester City fixture after the Foxes’ request due to Covid cases in their camp. Conte highlighted all these unfair decisions as he criticised the league for their actions.
“It was very strange to put yourself in this situation you understand with this decision. I repeat we have found the Premier League very strict when it happened, the outbreak in our training sessions and they did not want to postpone the game against Leicester. The Burnley game was postponed by snow. Then all this happened. Yes you have to learn to laugh, you have to laugh because they have totally changed the vision.”
Conte has every right to be frustrated by the Premier League’s recent decisions, given our experience when it comes to requesting for fixture postponements. The league’s integrity comes into question, especially with the way it is handing out arbitrary decisions with respect to requests from different teams.
Clubs seem to be taking advantage of the Covid postponement rule that the Premier League has enforced this season, with teams getting away with citing injuries as a reason instead of players being unavailable due to testing positive for Covid. Spurs had even put out a strong statement against the same, reflecting our thoughts on the unfair decisions being handed out during the season.
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With the resultant fixture pile-up that is sure to take place with the multiple games being rescheduled, Conte also highlighted that discussion about player welfare needs to be seriously looked at. Players, after all, are not machines that can take to the field whenever they are required and perform at their best.
The Premier League already boasts of a packed schedule in the winter, and with several games being pushed due to the league’s Covid postponement rules, we may find ourselves in a tight spot with multiple games to be played in the span of a week. A decision on the league’s Covid rules being enforced fairly must be taken not just for the welfare of the players but also the integrity of the game as a whole.