Tottenham have been handed a bye into the Carabao Cup fourth round after Leyton Orient were made to forfeit their third-round tie following a spate of coronavirus cases.
The League Two club were due to host Spurs on Tuesday night, but the game was called off two hours before kick-off after a number of Orient’s players tested positive for the virus.
Orient petitioned to the EFL that the game should be rescheduled for a later date, but under Carabao Cup rules they have had to forfeit the tie after being unable to fulfil the fixture.
Spurs, who paid for Orient to get tested in the build-up to the game, will now meet Chelsea on Tuesday.
An EFL statement read: “In accordance with Carabao Cup Rules, Tottenham Hotspur have been awarded with a bye to progress to Round Four of the Carabao Cup and will now play Chelsea on Tuesday 29 September.
“The Round Three tie scheduled for Tuesday 22 September between Leyton Orient and Tottenham Hotspur could not take place following the issue by Waltham Forest Borough Council of an order preventing the match being played as planned. This followed a number of Leyton Orient players testing positive for COVID-19.
“The EFL Board has determined that in line with Carabao Cup Rule 5.1, the club was unable to fulfil its obligations to complete the fixture by virtue of the Council’s order and shall therefore forfeit the tie.”
Orient chairman Nigel Travers argued that his club were able to raise a side in the same week West Ham’s game with Hull was allowed to go ahead despite manager David Moyes and three players testing positive for coronavirus on the day of the match.
But their arguments were not heard and they exit the competition without the significant windfall that would have been accrued from hosting a Premier League side in a televised tie.
Orient’s League Two game with Walsall this weekend has also been called off as the squad continue to self-isolate in the wake of their positive tests.
Orient head coach Ross Embleton said: “We’re devastated that this has happened, but this club is used to setbacks. It’s really important that players, staff and supporters stick together through tough times.”
For Spurs, they will now prepare for a hectic week of fixtures.
After playing in North Macedonia on Thursday night in Europa League, they host Newcastle in the Premier League on Sunday before the game against Frank Lampard’s side on Tuesday.
They are then back in action 48 hours later against Maccabi Haifa in the Europa League play-off before a tough Premier League trip to Old Trafford to face Manchester United next Sunday.
Spurs were planning on using Tuesday’s game against Orient to raise significant funds for the JE3 Foundation, set up in honour of former defender Justin Edinburgh, who was Orient’s manager when he died from a heart attack last summer.
They were going to auction their matchday shirts with all proceeds going to the foundation, but have confirmed they will now do so from another fixture.
The Premier League club said in a statement: “Everyone at Tottenham Hotspur sends their best wishes to Leyton Orient for the health and wellbeing of their players and staff, their families and all those affected at this time.
“We remain committed to helping to raise funds in aid of the JE3 Foundation, set up in the memory of Justin Edinburgh, and shall update in due course on auctioning match-worn shirts from a different fixture.”
Spurs fans also rallied in the wake of the cancellation of the game, helping the League Two club top £20,000 of sales in their club shop on Tuesday and Wednesday, where they bought Orient shirts, which are sponsored by Harry Kane.