The Carabao Cup descended into chaos on Tuesday night after David Moyes and two West Ham players tested positive for Covid 19 within an hour of their third-round clash with Hull City – but the game was still allowed to go ahead.
West Ham won 5-1 but the night was dominated by the decision to give the game the green light despite the risk that the virus could pass from Moyes, Issa Diop and Josh Cullen to players and staff at both clubs.
The trio were within the match ‘bubble’ at the London Stadium when they learnt of their positive tests at 6.20pm, before leaving the ground immediately. Diop and Cullen had both been named in the initial West Ham starting XI when the team lists dropped at 6.30pm, ahead of an update at 6.47pm that they had been replaced by Harrison Ashby and Jack Wilshere.
West Ham manager David Moyes tested positive for coronavirus before Tuesday’s match
Issa Diop (left) and Josh Cullen have also tested positive for the virus and have left the stadium
The EFL confirmed to Sportsmail that the decision to go ahead was made by the two clubs’ medical departments in consultation with two off-site EFL doctors, and that protocols had been followed. They also pointed to evidence that the risk of transmission between players outdoor is low.
Alan Irvine, who stood in for Moyes, said: ‘At 6.20pm we suddenly got some info. Immediately at that point you’re thinking we’ve got a game in an hour and 10 minutes so we had to focus on that, and that’s what we did. We had to pick a different team. I had a chat with the players, explained the situation and then we got on with the game. ‘There was contact in so far as we were in the same area as David. We’d been at the stadium, as we usually get there one hour and 45 to two hours before, so we had been around.
We were shocked by the news because we have had so many tests and not had any positive. We do know that the tests are not completely accurate so we will wait and see what happens.’
Despite the three positive tests, West Ham’s game against Hull went ahead as planned
West Ham assistant manager Alan Irvine took charge of the team following Moyes’ positive test
The fact the game went ahead, even with protocols being followed, caused raised eyebrows on a day when plans for crowds to return to sporting events in October were shelved by the government amid a rise in coronavirus cases.
A West Ham statement said Moyes, Diop and Cullen were ‘asymptomatic’, but there will now be doubts over their Premier League clash with Wolves on Sunday, while Moyes and the players will have to isolate for 10 days in line with national regulations. The Premier League are understood to be monitoring the situation. Hull will face Northampton in League One on Saturday.
The trio of positives came four months after concerns were raised about the return of football after lockdown by Hull midfielder Josh Magennis, who has asthma and played last night. Hull had been offered testing by West Ham in the days before the match but declined.
Hull manager Grant McCann said: ‘We found out about an hour before the game. We did not come into contact with Moyes or the others. We are happy we followed the EFL protocols and West Ham were adamant on that so we were comfortable to play the game.’
Leyton Orient’s Carabao Cup third-round clash with Tottenham was earlier called off
Hull striker Josh Magennis started on Tuesday night and has previously voiced his concerns
When asked why they declined West Ham’s offer of testing, McCann said: ‘Because we didn’t want to create anything. We are comfortable we were following the guidelines in and around the club. We decided against it, we felt we were fine. No one is showing any symptoms.’
The match was won convincingly by West Ham. Robert Snodgrass, playing for the second time since February after injury, opened the scoring on 18 minutes before Sebastien Haller made it 2-0 at the end of the first half.
Andriy Yarmolenko, one of 11 changes to the side beaten by Arsenal at weekend, scored the third. Jack Wilshere impressed for the home side in his first start for a year, but they lost Ashby to a dislocated finger.
Hull, who had beaten Sunderland and Leeds in penalty shootouts to reach the third round, pulled a goal back through Mallik Wilks, but Haller got his second in stoppage time and Yarmolenko added a fifth. West Ham will play Fleetwood Town or Everton in the fourth round.