FA Cup Covid rules: What happens if teams cannot fulfil FA Cup ties due to Covid?
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The FA Cup third round is due to get underway as an increasing number of positive Covid-19 tests have seen Premier League and EFL fixtures postponed. This could have a knock-on effect on the FA Cup, with Derby’s game against National League North side Chorley one of the ties in doubt.
The Rams announced on Monday that several first-team players and staff tested positive for coronavirus and that their Moor Farm training ground has been closed.
A club statement read: “Staff members and players were tested on Monday and have subsequently returned a number of positive results.
“The names of those individuals will not be made public for medical confidentiality reasons, but they and their close contacts must now serve a period of isolation at home in line with UK Government guidelines.
“In accordance with Derby County and EFL COVID-19 protocol, the club’s Moor Farm training ground has been closed with immediate effect.
“In addition, the club is in dialogue with the EFL and Football Association in relation to upcoming fixtures.”
What happens if FA Cup ties cannot be played due to Covid?
There are conflicting reports over what will happen if a club is unable to fulfil their FA Cup fixture.
According to The Sun, such teams are likely to be “thrown out” of the competition.
This would fall in line with the Carabao Cup’s rules, which saw Tottenham handed a bye into the fourth round when their opponents Leyton Orient were unable to play the match due to a number of positive coronavirus results.
On the other hand, Sky Sports claim teams will not automatically forfeit their ties if they are hit with Covid.
The broadcaster says the FA will deal with each club’s individual case.
All teams taking part in the FA Cup third round are to be tested 72 hours before their respective matches.
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A club that feels they will be unable to fulfil their fixture can apply for a review with the FA.
Typically, a club will be ordered to fulfil an FA Cup tie if they have at least 14 players who are fit and available.
However, there are no specific guidelines about what level those players must be at, leaving it unclear whether the availability of U23 and U18 players would be classed as eligible.
According to Sky Sports, the FA would consider the individual circumstances at a club.
This includes whether they followed the protocols, how many players are affected and what their strongest line-up would be.
The Professional Game Board would then make a decision on whether the fixture should go ahead, be postponed or forfeited by the club that is unable to play.
Despite differing reports, the FA is yet to make an announcement on the subject.
However, the governing body has announced that clubs are permitted to name up to nine substitutes for their ties.
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