The FA Cup rule changes that will affect teams entering round three

Teams could be eliminated from this season’s FA Cup without playing their designated fixture thanks to a new rule included due to coronavirus.

Domestic leagues have already had to cancel fixtures as a result of rising cases, and there is significant chance of similar scenarios occurring in the cup.

This weekend sees the third round of the competition take place.

Sheffield United head to Bristol Rovers on Saturday, whilst Wednesday make a similarly long trip to face Exeter City.

The same day sees Huddersfield Town host Plymouth Argyle.

All participating clubs must undergo testing for Covid-19 in the week leading up to their third round tie.

Should any players return a positive test, they will naturally not be able to take part, and if any club is unable to name 14 players in their matchday squad, the tie will be postponed.

If the fixture is then not able to be scheduled prior to the fourth round, the affected team will be knocked out, while their opponents will receive a free passage to the next stage.

There are already concerns over Wednesday’s preparation for the tie, after their training ground was closed earlier this week.

Yorkshire Live understands the club’s medical staff called for the training ground to be closed on Saturday as a precaution to curb the rise in Covid-19 infections.

Owls’ players are training from home and a decision over the fixture is expected later in the week.

Yorkshire Football App

Yorkshire Live has launched a new dedicated football app to bring you the one stop shop for all Sheffield United news.

Football Yorkshire brings you the latest transfer developments, live match coverage, injury updates and all the daily news from Bramall Lane.

You can customise the app to your own preferences and stay across everything you need to know, while joining the debate with Blades fans in our comments section. Download the app by clicking here.

The FA are helping to fund every batch of testing between rounds to ensure maximum safety.

Teams are allowed to select youth players in their squads to make up the numbers, though clubs in the lower leagues could suffer more so than those in the higher divisions in the event of a serious outbreak.

The FA Cup already runs on a tight schedule as it is, with third round ties on the weekend of January 9, while the fourth round is just two weeks later, leaving little room to manoeuvre should any matches be called off.

Replays have been scrapped this season, with games going to extra-time and penalties if necessary.

Read More:The FA Cup rule changes that will affect teams entering round three