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Archived News from September 2020

23rd September 2020 15:43

Monday 21 Sept 2020. 1.30pm



Today (Monday 21st) we received formal confirmation which shows that a number of our first-team squad have tested positive for COVID-19.

We have informed the EFL and Tottenham Hotspur and will make a further announcement regarding Tuesday’s match shortly.

We have also informed Mansfield Town, Plymouth Argyle and Oldham Athletic, our three most recent opponents, prior to the public release of this information.

Leyton Orient’s priority is the health and well-being of its players and staff. Those who have tested positive will now strictly follow government self-isolation guidelines.

The Breyer Group Stadium and training ground facilities will be closed until further notice.

At this time, the club will make no further comment.


Club statement: COVID-19
mansfieldtown.net, Monday 21 Sept 2020

Mansfield Town Football Club has been notified by Leyton Orient that ‘a number of its (Orient’s) first-team squad have tested positive for COVID-19’, following Saturday’s match at The Breyer Group Stadium.

Consequentially, all Mansfield Town first team players and staff will be tested for COVID-19 within the next 24 hours.

Moreover, the club is currently in dialogue with the EFL and will take any additional steps as necessary, in line with their advice.

Read more at https://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/2020/september/club-statement-covid-19/

For clarity, the club’s first team squad reported for training this morning and no player reported feeling unwell or has experienced symptoms of COVID-19.

Throughout the pandemic, the club has adhered strictly to advice and guidelines from the government and the EFL and will continue to do so.

The health, welfare and safety of all the Mansfield players and staff is the club’s absolute priority.

The club will endeavour to provide a further update when appropriate.


Leyton Orient players test positive for Covid-19 to put Spurs cup tie in doubt
Tuesday’s match expected to be cancelled
Mansfield, Orient’s opponents last Saturday, plan complaint
Ben Fisher and David Hytner


Mon 21 Sep 2020

Leyton Orient have shown a high number of positive Covid-19 tests in their playing squad - believed to number in double figures - which has led to the expectation that their Carabao Cup game at home to Tottenham on Tuesday will be called off, with a decision set for the morning, and serious questions being asked about the biosecurity of League Two.

The testing of players is not mandatory in the English Football League - as it is in the Premier League - with the authorities content to insist on stringent hygiene measures and work-place social distancing. They say that the evidence shows there is a minimal risk of transition of the virus via training and playing outdoors.

Spurs, though, wanted a degree of reassurance before the third-round tie and they paid for Orient’s first-team squad to be tested after the 2-2 draw at home to Mansfield on Saturday. The results have shocked the east London club, with Orient announcing on Monday lunchtime that they had closed their stadium and training ground until further notice.

The Guardian understands that Mansfield plan to lodge a formal complaint with the EFL, arguing that Orient players should have been tested before Saturday’s match given their manager, Ross Embleton, revealed there were a “number of people suffering with illnesses” in his pre-match press conference.

At the time Embleton stressed it was “not a Covid issue for any of us to worry about” and after the game he revealed that as many as “nine players” were struggling to play because of a “bug”. Orient’s doctor and head physio conducted regular medical checks and are understood to have felt comfortable the symptoms reported by players were unrelated to Covid-19 until last Friday, when it became apparent a couple of players were suffering from symptoms linked to the virus. As a precaution those players were not involved against Mansfield; they are thought to be among the positive tests.

Orient say they would have paid for tests before the Spurs tie and have since tested all behind-the-scenes staff, including stadium personnel. Mansfield will test players and staff in the next 24 hours and Plymouth, who played Orient last Tuesday, have also made arrangements to undertake precautionary testing, although no players or staff have reported Covid symptoms. It is understood some Orient players played against Plymouth despite not feeling 100%.

EFL clubs did have to test before returning to pre-season training, at its midway point and before their first competitive games. Players also have to be tested on their return from international duty. The league is adamant compulsory testing was removed not because of prohibitive costs but on the strength of medical evidence after more than 99% of tests following last season’s restart were negative.

Orient said in a statement they had notified Mansfield, Plymouth and Oldham - whom they played the previous Saturday - before they went public with the news of their positive tests. The implications, given the high number of positives, are hugely worrying for the league.

Orient added that the “priority is the health and well-being of players and staff. Those who have tested positive will now strictly follow government self-isolation guidelines.”

What to do with the cup tie against Spurs was discussed throughout Monday with both clubs, the EFL, Public Health England and the director for public health in Waltham Forest, the local authority, all involved.

Spurs are mired in an unforgiving run of fixtures - they are also involved in Europa League qualification - and do not feel there is any room to rearrange against Orient. If the game is cancelled as expected then the game will be forfeited and Spurs would advance to the fourth round, as per Carabao Cup rules.

Orient were set to receive a £125,000 facilities fee from Sky, which chose to televise the tie live. The EFL administers the money from the £595m five-year deal it struck with the broadcaster and it is unclear whether it will withhold all or part of the payment to Orient. The governing body is trying to be as supportive as possible to its clubs, who have already been hit hard during the pandemic.


The Times newspaper, Tues 22 Sept 2020

Mansfield meanwhile lodged a formal complaint to the EFL yesterday afternoon after purchasing a number of kits to test their players.

Mansfield believe they should have been made aware of the situation out of courtesy and have now spent £3,000 on buying testing kits for their players who came into contact with Orient's squad. They are seeking to be reimbursed for that outlay if their grievance is upheld.




21 September 2020

Orient's players were tested after Saturday's 2-2 draw at home to Mansfield, who have lodged a complaint to the EFL. They were only alerted on Monday that Orient manager Ross Embleton had said before Saturday's match that a 'number of people (were) suffering with illnesses'.

He insisted at the time it was 'not a Covid issue' and claimed after the game that up to 'nine players' were instead struggling with a 'bug'.

Orient's medical staff had made regular check-ups on those affected and were comfortable that players' symptoms were not related to coronavirus.

That changed on the day before the game, when a couple showed signs linked to the virus. They were left out of the match as a precaution and are understood to be among the positive tests.

Mansfield would have asked for Orient's squad to be tested before their meeting. Instead they claim to have paid more than £3,000 - a sizeable outlay for a club of their size - to test their own players.

Orient, meanwhile, tested theirs after Saturday's game and delays in results being returned meant that the scale of the outbreak emerged only on Monday morning.

At lunchtime, Orient released a statement announcing that 'a number' of players had caught the virus.

'Those who have tested positive will now strictly follow Government self-isolation guidelines,' the club confirmed. It was also revealed that their training ground and stadium would go into shutdown.

Orient then liaised with Public Health England, whose advice will inform the EFL's decision.

Under new EFL protocols, clubs were subject to a reduced testing programme during pre-season which stopped on the eve of the new campaign.

Players have to be tested on return from international duty but otherwise EFL protocol stretches only to guidelines over social distancing and hygiene procedures. The EFL insist this is not a cost-cutting measure, rather a decision based on evidence from Project Restart, when more than 99 per cent of tests carried out returned negative results.

Mansfield will test all first-team players and staff within 24 hours. 'The squad reported for training and no player reported feeling unwell or has experienced symptoms of Covid-19,' said the club.



It is believed the tests were paid for by Tottenham who are one of a number of top flight clubs worried about contracting coronavirus in cup matches against Football League opposition.

The EFL no longer makes coronavirus testing a mandatory requirement ahead of games, but clubs can do it themselves at their own discretion.

Following Orient's statement, the League said: "The EFL has been made aware of positive test results recorded at Orient and is currently awaiting the outcome of discussions between the club and Public Health England which will determine what, if any, action is required outside of adhering to current protocols and guidance.”


Daily Telegraph, Wed 23 Sep

(reference to West Ham vs Hull)

It is understood that the EFL's medical advisers also pointed to evidence that there is a very low risk of transmission during an outdoors 11-a-side match.


Leyton Orient confirm 'number of players' have coronavirus
Monday 21 Sept 2020


Leyton Orient have confirmed that "a number" of first-team players have tested positive for coronavirus.

The O's are due to host Premier League Tottenham in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday and are in discussions with Public Health England about whether any further action needs to be taken.

The club said in a statement that the tests were carried out after Saturday's 2-2 draw with Mansfield in League Two.

Their most recent opponents - Plymouth, Mansfield and Oldham - have been told.

"Leyton Orient's priority is the health and wellbeing of its players and staff. Those who have tested positive will now strictly follow government self-isolation guidelines," the O's said.

"The Breyer Group Stadium and training ground facilities will be closed until further notice."

It is understood that if Orient are unable to field a team, the game will be awarded to Spurs as there is not enough room in the schedule to rearrange the tie.

Tottenham have a more congested schedule than most because of their Europa League commitments, with their next game in that competition in Macedonia against Shkendija on Thursday.

Orient's tie with Jose Mourinho's men would have seen them potentially come up against striker Harry Kane, who paid to promote charities on the front of their shirts in May. The England captain made his professional debut during a loan spell with the O's when he was 17.

The English Football League say they are "awaiting the outcome" of Orient's discussions with Public Health England.

Plymouth, who were beaten by Orient in the previous round of the EFL Cup, and Mansfield say they will test their players and football staff as a result, adding that none of them currently have symptoms.

BBC Sport's Simon Stone

This news is an escalation of what has been a long-standing worry for all clubs outside the Premier League and Championship.

Clubs have to pay for tests themselves, so Leyton Orient - and Mansfield and Plymouth, who played them recently - are having to absorb an additional cost. It was one of the significant factors behind Leagues One and Two calling an early end to their 2019-20 season.

Now, those same clubs are wondering how they are going to pay the bills having decided to start the new campaign in the belief supporters would be allowed into stadiums, something there is now significant doubt about.

The National League has already said its planned start on 3 October is unlikely to go ahead without supporters but is continuing with pilots at friendlies, which are due to take place this week.

As any business owner knows, uncertainty is the worst position to be in.

For all these 'elite' clubs, the nightmare scenario of having to pay to stage games with no income is suddenly becoming very real.

Without some kind of intervention, this is an unsustainable situation for all but those with owners whose pockets are very deep indeed.



Pre match interview with Ross Embleton on the Orient youtube channel, 18 Sept 2020:

"We mentioned after the game (against Plymouth on Tuesday), there was a number of people suffering with illnesses that either were in the team or out of the team or played through that on Tuesday, and that's something that's hit us quite hard. Not a Covid issue for us to worry about but it has hit the group quite hard in terms of that bug that's gone round the camp."


Post match interview with Ross Embleton on the Orient youtube channel, 19 Sept 2020:

"But credit to the boys for putting their bodies on the line, the state that some of them were in.
"It's important to let everybody know that there's no Covid symptoms.
"I had to rip that piece of paper up (with the team on) at quarter to ten (this morning) because we had so many illnesses."



Latest | September 2020