Teams who cannot play FA Cup ties due to Covid set to be THROWN OUT of competition due to packed fixtures schedule

TEAMS who cannot play their FA Cup ties because of a Covid-19 outbreak are almost certain to be thrown out of the competition.

The third round is due to be played this week amid a swathe of infections forcing matches across the English game to be called off.

But with hardly any room left in the fixture programme, anyone who is unable to play their tie is likely to see their opponents handed a bye into the next round.

The FA have ordered all sides to undergo testing 72 hours before kick-off.

They will foot the bill, too, to ensure lower league and non-league sides can take part.

FA rules are not set in stone as to what would happen if a club cannot fulfil a fixture, unlike in the first three rounds of the Carabao Cup which saw Leyton Orient forfeit their game against Tottenham.

But FA Cup bosses have made it clear to all 64 sides in round three that they can appeal to the Professional Game Board for a postponement if they are hit by an infection.

Yet they've also been told they're likely to suffer the ultimate sanction.

Five games across the Premier League and EFL fell victim to coronavirus cancellations last weekend.

It's widely expected other teams will be hit in the coming days.

Urgent talks will be held between the FA and relevant leagues in the event of a forced postponement, in a bid to find a free date to reschedule a tie.

But the fourth round cannot be shifted, and with league games being played in between there is little scope to squeeze in a new date.

Chelsea, for example, only have five days between their third-round game with Morecambe and the Premier League clash with Fulham.

They then take on Leicester the following Tuesday, before the scheduled fourth round on the weekend of January 23.

It is virtually impossible to find a date in that period when a new game can be played.

So if the Blues were the ones who were unable to play, in that case Morecambe would be handed a bye into the fourth round.

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