(Reuters) - Players of eighth-tier Marine may have been denied the chance to swap jerseys with their Tottenham Hotspur counterparts following their 5-0 FA Cup defeat on Sunday but they can look forward to a delivery of new shirts courtesy of the Premier League club.
The British government has allowed elite sports to continue despite the country being placed into lockdown amid a surge in COVID-19 cases but players cannot hug each other to celebrate goals or swap shirts, to limit the spread of the virus.
"The players are unable to swap shirts after the game due to COVID protocols, so we've provided @MarineAFC with a whole set of fresh match shirts as a souvenir of today's historic match," Tottenham said on Twitter.
Marine, who play in the Northern Premier League, Division One North West and are 161 places below Tottenham in the English football pyramid, said they had sold 30,697 virtual tickets to the game at 10 pounds each.
Cash-strapped Marine's hopes of generating revenue through the turnstiles were dashed when the Merseyside region was placed in Tier 3 of Britain's COVID-19 restrictions, forcing the game to be played without supporters.
"The Cup run has been a lifesaver for us financially for where we are in non-league. There has been no help for teams in step three and below," Marine manager Neil Young said.
"The run... I'm very proud of, you look at the teams we've played and we have beaten home and away. It is past our wildest dreams to bring Tottenham to Marine. I wish we could have done more."
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond)
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