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North London Derby postponed due to health issues

North London Derby postponed - Clubs react to Premier League ruling

January 15, 2022 By Oscar Rojas
The grudge match has been deemed crucial for both sides in their quest to finish the season among the top four teams with a spot in the UEFA Champions League at stake.

The highly-anticipated game between Tottenham and Arsenal has been postponed after Arsenal requested the Premier League to do so. Given the nature of the decision and what it means for both teams, the Premier League's ruling on this matter has been met with quite a bit of controversy.

The first club to react was Arsenal, since they were the club that handed in the request to have the game postponed.

"We are disappointed to announce that Sunday's north London derby at Tottenham Hotspur has been postponed. We know how much this match means to our fans around the world, but the Premier League has made the decision to postpone the match, due to many players across our squad currently being unavailable as a result of COVID-19, existing and recent injuries, in addition to players away with their countries at AFCON," the press release states.

The Gunners would have been forced to play this game without as many as ten players between COVID-19 cases, injuries, suspensions, and players being ineligible to play due to their involvement with their national teams in the Africa Cup of Nations.

On the other hand, Tottenham's reaction to the news came with outrage, as they recalled the team's issues with the league when asking some of their games to be postponed in the recent past. Moreover, the white and blue side recalled how they were eliminated from the UEFA Europa Conference League after forteiting one of their matches due to a rise of COVID-19 cases within the team.

"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," Tottenham's press release said.

"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 may now be seeing the unintended consequences of this rule. It is important to have clarity and consistency on the application of the rule," Tottenham's document adds.

The game would have featured the fifth and sixth-ranked teams in the Premier League with only two points between them. The end result of this game would have a major effect on both of these team's chances of a top-four finish by the end of the season. Hence, if things continue their current course, there will be much to play for when this match eventually takes place.

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