Clubs have been warned they will be ‘expected to fulfil’ FA Cup ties if they have 14 players available for selection, amid growing fears over an increasing number of Covid-enforced fixture postponements.
Tottenham’s clash with Fulham became the second Premier League fixture to be postponed this week following a number of positive cases within the Cottager’s camp, following on from the cancellation of Manchester City’s trip to face Everton.
Several fixtures in the lower leagues have also been rescheduled, with the EFL confirming that a number of games in the Championship, League One, and League Two had been affected by a coronavirus outbreak.
The postponements come amid an already congested fixture schedule this season and there is little room in the calendar for manoeuvre, and the Football Association has warned that FA Cup ties will go ahead as scheduled as long as clubs can field the minimum number of players.
The Premier League introduced a 14-player ruling regarding postponements at the start of the season, though have since moved away from the ruling and have dealt with fixtures on an individual basis.
However, the FA have informed clubs that the 14-player rule regarding coronavirus cases will be enforced in this season’s FA Cup, with the third round scheduled to take place next weekend.
“While we would recognise the difficulties presented by Covid-19 to clubs, unfortunately, due to the unprecedented circumstances we are dealing with this season, there is limited scope for a fixture to be rescheduled prior to the date of the next round,” and FA statement reads, as per the Mail.
“Therefore, in order to keep the competition on schedule and mitigate the risk of causing disruption to the wider fixture schedule, clubs will be expected to fulfil FA Cup fixtures providing they have a minimum of 14 Covid-19 negative players available.”