The Premier League match between Tottenham and Fulham has been postponed after a coronavirus outbreak at the west London club.
The Cottagers returned a number of positive test results on Tuesday and, after more came in on Wednesday, the Premier League decided to call the match off less than three hours before the scheduled 6pm kick-off.
It becomes the third top-flight game to be wiped out by the virus, following Newcastle’s match with Aston Villa earlier this month and Monday’s game between Everton and Manchester City.
A statement from Tottenham read: “We can confirm that our Premier League home fixture against Fulham, scheduled to take place this evening, has been postponed.”
It is understood Spurs are unhappy about the decision and the timing of it. There had been speculation throughout the day that the game might be called off and manager Jose Mourinho indicated his frustration in an Instagram post shortly after 2pm.
Mourinho posted a video on his account of his staff waiting waiting for news with a message which read: “We still don’t know if we play. Best league in the world.”
The video was filmed at 2.02pm – something the Portuguese made clear by showing the time in the corner of a TV screen in the room.
The Premier League confirmed the decision to postpone the game was taken following a meeting.
A statement read: “Fulham lodged a request with the Premier League board to rearrange the fixture following a significant rise in positive Covid-19 cases, as well as a number of players showing symptoms (on Wednesday).
“The Premier League board has consulted its medical advisors and the decision to postpone the game has been taken as a precaution and with the health of players and staff as the priority. The group will now be retested immediately.”
The news comes after the Premier League announced on Tuesday there had been a season-high 18 positive tests in its latest round of testing across the competition.
However, despite calls in some quarters for the league to consider halting all games in a “circuit-breaker”, the competition will continue.
The statement added: “With low numbers of positive tests across the overwhelming majority of clubs, the Premier League continues to have full confidence in its Covid-19 protocols and being able to continue to play our fixtures as scheduled.
“The League wishes those with Covid-19 a safe and speedy recovery and will rearrange the postponed fixture between Tottenham Hotspur and Fulham in due course.”
Fulham confirmed the postponement followed “a number of the club’s players and first-team staff returning positive results from the most recent Covid-19 tests this week”.
It added: “This decision follows discussions with the Premier League and advice from Public Health England.
“Those players and staff who tested positive have been self-isolating in line with UK Government and Premier League guidance.
“We wish the players and staff who tested positive a safe and speedy recovery.”