An inquiry has begun after 10 Tottenham Hotspur players fell ill at a hotel on the eve of Sunday’s crucial Premier League match at West Ham.

The players apparently suffered food poisoning before the game.

Spurs asked for the fixture at London rivals West Ham to be postponed by a day but Premier League officials declined.

Tottenham manager Martin Jol said he did not suspect foul play in the incident which saw 10 first team players struck down with the illness.

Spurs eventually lost the game lost 2-1 – a result which helped north London rivals Arsenal to secure fourth place and a Champions League spot ahead of them.

Environmental health officers and the police were called in to investigate after the players fell ill during the night.

Spurs informed the Premier League on Sunday morning they were in danger of being unable to fulfil the match, and Jol asked for the game to be postponed until Monday or at least until 1800 BST on Sunday.

But Premier League chairman Richard Scudamore said he was not able to sanction the postponement because Tottenham still had enough fit players to fulfil the fixture. Moreover, the police, mindful of the potential for crowd trouble with thousands of supporters milling around Upton Park, advised the game start as close to the kick-off as possible.

Aware of a decision in 1997 to dock three points from Middlesbrough after they failed to fulfil a league fixture, Spurs decided to go ahead with the game as scheduled.

Paul Downing, general manager of the London Marriott West India Quay Hotel, in Canary Wharf, east London, said the team had stayed there several times before.

“We don’t know that it is food poisoning but we need to establish what has made some of the players unwell,” he told the BBC.

“We are taking part in an investigation with club management to try to find that out.”

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