Tottenham must negotiate their decisive Champions League group stage finale at Marseille without the leadership of Antonio Conte after the head coach was banned by Uefa.
A defeat at the Stade Vélodrome would eliminate them, in part because they were held to a draw by Sporting Lisbon on Wednesday. Conte was furious at the end of that game, when Harry Kane’s late goal was chalked off for offside via VAR after a lengthy delay and Conte was sent off by the referee, Danny Makkelie, for his remonstrations.
The dismissal means he will not be allowed to enter any of the areas where he would usually carry out his work when Tottenham travel to southern France, meaning the touchline and dressing room will be off limits. He must watch the meeting with Marseille, whom Spurs beat 2-0 at home in September, from the stands.
Uefa’s regulations state: “A team manager/coach or other team official who is sent off or suspended from carrying out his function may not be in the technical area or communicate directly with the team’s players and/or technical staff during the match … In addition, a team manager/coach or any other team official who is suspended from carrying out his function may not enter the dressing room or tunnel before or during the match.”
Conte’s problems may not end there. Uefa will wait for Makkelie’s report before deciding whether a further sanction is needed and Conte’s conduct after the game may also be viewed dimly.
Conte’s fury after Kane’s disallowed goal, which would have seen them through to the knockout stage, continued into his post-match press conference and it is possible Uefa will investigate his comments.
“I would like to see if this type of decision is made with a top team in an important game,” he said. “I would like to see if the VAR is so brave enough to make an unfair decision,” he said. “I don’t see honesty in this type of situation, when I don’t see this I become really upset.”