Soccer-Marine staring at 100K pounds revenue loss with Spurs tie behind closed doors

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FILE PHOTO: FA Cup Second Round - Marine v Havant & Waterlooville

(Reuters) - Eighth-tier side Marine said on Thursday they are selling virtual tickets for their third round FA Cup match against Tottenham Hotspur in a bid to raise vital funds after the match was moved behind closed doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Marine landed a dream clash against the Premier League club in what would have been a lucrative fixture on Jan. 10, with the lower division side looking to have 500 fans attending the game.

But with the Merseyside region being placed into Tier 3 of Britain's COVID-19 restrictions, the game must now be played behind closed doors, resulting in around 100,000 pounds ($136,440) in lost revenue.

To make matters worse, the club said a sponsor was also pulling out of an advertising package worth 20,000 pounds with fans no longer welcome at Rossett Park.

"A club like Marine lives for this type of FA Cup run that can make or break the club's future," it said in a statement.

"With this support, our magical FA Cup run will hopefully allow us to secure our future for years to come. We can't express our gratitude enough for the support we have received so far from across the footballing spectrum."

The virtual tickets are priced at 10 pounds each with the club saying they will be entered into a raffle with the winner being allowed to manage the side in a friendly game in the future.

The FA Cup has also scrapped replays for this season to help ease fixture congestion caused by the COVID-19 crisis, denying Marine an additional fixture if they defy the odds and manage to draw with Spurs.

($1 = 0.7329 pounds)

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)