Tottenham have said they are “extremely surprised” Arsenal’s request to have Sunday’s north London derby postponed was approved by the Premier League.
The Gunners asked the league to reschedule the match as they said they would not have the minimum requirement of 13 outfield players and one goalkeeper.
Mikel Arteta’s side lodged the appeal after Martin Odegaard tested positive for coronavirus on Thursday. Arsenal were also set to be without the suspended Granit Xhaka and the injured Cedric Soares, Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Thomas Partey, Mohamed Elneny and Nicolas Pepe are all at the Africa Cup of Nations as well.
Under Premier League rules, clubs can apply for a match to be postponed “if COVID-19 infections are a factor in their request”.
Tottenham, though, are not happy with the decision, and have called for greater “clarity and consistency on the application of the rule”.
Following a request from Arsenal FC, the Premier League Board met today and regrettably agreed to postpone the North London Derby, due to be played at 4:30pm on Sunday 16 January.
Full PL statement
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) January 15, 2022
A statement posted on Spurs’ official website read: “We regret to announce that Sunday’s north London derby against Arsenal has been postponed.
“This follows an application from Arsenal to the Premier League on the basis of a combination of COVID, existing and recent injuries and players on international duty at the Africa Cup of Nations.
“We are extremely surprised that this application has been approved.
“We ourselves were disqualified from the European Conference League after a significant number of COVID cases meant we needed to reschedule a fixture and our application to move our Leicester fixture was not approved – only for it to be subsequently postponed when Leicester applied.
“The original intention of the guidance was to deal with player availability directly affected by COVID cases, resulting in depleted squads that when taken together with injuries would result in the club being unable to field a team.
“We do not believe it was the intent to deal with player availability unrelated to COVID. We may now be seeing the unintended consequences of this rule. It is important to have clarity and consistency on the application of the rule.
“Yet again fans have seen their plans disrupted at unacceptably short notice. We shall once again send food deliveries to the local food banks to avoid unacceptable waste.
“We are sincerely sorry for our fans – some of whom will have travelled great distances.”