Coronavirus: FA committed to completing FA Cup if possible
- Credit: PA Archive/PA Images
The Football Association remains committed to completing the final three rounds of the FA Cup if the professional game can safely restart amid the coronavirus pandemic.
FA chief executive Mark Bullingham is understood to have told FA Council members at a meeting on Thursday that the intention remains to wrap up the knockout competition alongside Premier League action, although whether the cup final would be the last domestic match in the 2019-20 season was not mentioned.
The competition had reached the quarter-final stage when professional football was suspended on March 13.
Bullingham is understood to have told the members that the quarter-finals could be played on a home-and-away basis if the Government and emergency services give their approval for the season to resume that way, and that the semi-finals and final would be behind closed doors at Wembley.
Bullingham and FA chairman Greg Clarke are understood to have talked again about the costs to the game caused by the Covid-19 outbreak, which they estimated would run into hundreds of millions of pounds across the FA, the Premier League and the EFL if the season cannot be completed.
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Clarke is understood to have said he could foresee a situation where fans are not allowed back into grounds because of social distancing requirements for most or potentially all of next season.
He is understood to have talked about the need to support clubs in the football pyramid to effectively ‘hibernate’ until such time as supporters return to provide them with the matchday revenue they need to survive, or until it is otherwise viable to operate.
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The FA Council was also given information on changes to the laws of the game for the 2020-21 season by former referee David Elleray, who is now technical director of the game’s law-making body the International Football Association Board (IFAB).
Arsenal, who have won the FA Cup a record 13 times, are set to visit Sheffield United in the last eight of this season’s tournament, while Leicester host Chelsea, Newcastle entertain Manchester City and Norwich City welcome Manchester United.