FA says 14 fit players enough for FA Cup third-round matches to go ahead

The Football Association have told clubs taking part in the FA Cup third round that they should field a team if they have at least 14 fit players, as they seek to avoid a fixture pile-up.

A rise in coronavirus cases across the Premier League and EFL have led to a number of games having to be postponed and rearranged for a later date.

But in a briefing to competing clubs, the FA have insisted the FA Cup has to continue and cannot be delayed, with rescheduling matches for a later date not considered straightforward with an already congested fixture list.

The 14 players do not necessarily have to be from the first team, but across the squad as a whole.

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Any club that cannot field a team will have to make an application to the FA stating its reasons for being unable to fulfil the fixture.

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An application will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, but it could result in a side having to forfeit the game and losing their place in the competition.

Earlier this season, Sky Bet League Two side Leyton Orient were forced to forfeit their EFL Cup match against Tottenham following an outbreak of Covid-19 in the squad, with Spurs given a bye into the next round of the competition.

The FA are paying for testing for all non-Premier League sides ahead of the FA Cup third-round matches.

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