Spurs handed League Cup bye after COVID-19 cases at Orient

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FILE PHOTO: Europa League - Third qualifying round - KF Shkendija v Tottenham Hotspur

(Reuters) - Tottenham Hotspur have advanced to the League Cup fourth round via a bye after their match against Leyton Orient was called off due to a number of Orient players testing positive for COVID-19, the Football League (EFL) said on Friday.

Spurs' third-round match against Orient was cancelled on Tuesday, a day after the fourth-tier club revealed the positive tests and closed their Breyer Group Stadium and training ground facilities until further notice.

"Tottenham Hotspur have been awarded with a bye to progress to round four... and will now play Chelsea on Tuesday, Sept. 29," the EFL said in a statement https://www.efl.com/news/2020/september/efl-statement-leyton-orient-v-tottenham-hotspur2. "This followed a number of Leyton Orient players testing positive for COVID-19.

"The Board has determined that in line with Rule 5.1, (Orient) was unable to fulfil its obligations to complete the fixture... and shall therefore forfeit the tie."

The news is a blow for Orient owner Nigel Travis, who had said his team needed the financial boost that accompanies a home fixture against one of the Premier League's leading lights.

"The coronavirus has added 1.5 million pounds ($1.91 million) to our losses and this game would have contributed about 150,000 pounds to offset those losses so this is a big blow," Travis said after Tuesday's cancellation.

"We think the appropriate action is for this game to take place. If we don't play the game and are forced to forfeit, it's a demonstration that doing the right thing doesn't work. It would be an incentive not to test."

Orient's League Two match against Walsall, which was due to take place on Saturday, has also been called off, with the EFL planning to announce a revised date for the fixture.

($1 = 0.7866 pounds)

(Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis)

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