Drastic FA Cup measure taken to open up fixture dates for rearranged games

Rob McCarthy
FA Cup trophy 2021

FA Cup third and fourth-round replays have been scrapped to ease the fixture logjam created by the latest Covid-19 variant.

The FA confirmed their decision on the same day Premier League clubs decided to push on and play through the festive period. That is despite numerous teams having to postpone matches after coronavirus outbreaks in their squad.

Dates for those will have to be found at some point and with that in mind the FA have decided that third and fourth-round Cup ties will go straight to extra-time and penalties to help ease the congestion.

A statement read: “The FA can confirm that replays have been removed in both the Third and Fourth Rounds of the 2021-22 Emirates FA Cup.

“This exceptional decision was approved by The FA Board on Friday, December 17 and has been taken in the wider interest of English football to alleviate the possibility of fixture congestion following several postponements in recent days and continued uncertainty ahead due to Covid-19.

“Ties in the Third and Fourth Rounds of this season’s competition will be played to a finish on the day, with extra-time and penalties if required.

“Replays will return up to and including the Fourth Round of the Emirates FA Cup from the 2022-23 season onwards.”

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Covid causing fixtures havoc

The news, as reported in The Sun, will be of relief to clubs who had been pushing for fixture postponements in the Premier League.

During Monday’s crunch meeting, Liverpool wanted an entire round of fixtures moved after losing several key men.

But despite support from other club’s, the idea was rejected due to the complexity involved.

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