Tottenham Hotspur’s European dreams could still come to fruition, with the club set to appeal UEFA’s decision to kick them out of the Europa Conference League.
Manager Antonio Conte revealed that the club is speaking to their lawyers about making an appeal to the decision.
How Tottenham Hotspur’s European Dreams Still Cling On
Tottenham Hotspur’s European Appeal
Conte did not hold back on what he thought was an ‘incredible decision’ to kick Spurs out of Europe. He gave his thoughts at the press conference ahead of tonight’s fixture against West Ham United.
Conte said: “This decision is not fair. All the world knows we were facing a big problem like Covid. We didn’t play not through our fault but because we had many, many players with Covid and the Government decided to stop our training sessions and to stop our training centre.
“Honestly for me, the players, the club and our fans, it’s incredible the decision UEFA wanted to take. It’s unfair for sure.
“We deserve to play for qualification on the pitch, not in this way. I’m very disappointed for UEFA’s decisions. I don’t want to understand but I hope that in the future, in the next step, something can change because we deserve to play for qualification on the pitch, not in this way. It’s not our fault.
“But I repeat I’m very disappointed with UEFA because everybody knows the problem. It means maybe someone doesn’t know the problem we were having and maybe some personal interests [were behind this call].”
The allusions to ‘personal interests’ aren’t made quite clear by Conte, but they speak of the deeper suspicions about why UEFA decided to punish Spurs. After all, as Conte outlines, the entire club, including players and staff had been hit by the virus. It wouldn’t have been safe to play the fixture with Rennes.
More to Life Than Europe
The Europa Conference League isn’t the pinnacle of European glory. It isn’t Spurs’ life-long dream to lift this newly created trophy. But Europe has of course always been important to the Lilywhites. No need to quote Bill Nic’ here.
It is unclear if the appeal will mean Spurs can rejoin the tournament. The knock-out legs do not start until February 2022. However, there will still be the issue of which club gets to progress from Group G. Rennes were awarded the 3-0 victory by default. So Spurs ended up finishing third in the group, with seven points. A win would have drawn them level on points with Vitesse (in second place) and Spurs would have pipped them on goal difference.
Tottenham already have more pressing matters with a quarter-final in the Carabao Cup to play against sort-of-rivals West Ham. Sort of because the Hammers treat the fixture as much more of a cup final than Spurs ever do. But this time silverware really is at stake. Both clubs will be hungry to get themselves to a cup final, regardless of what the trophy means.