Scrapping FA Cup replays in the third and fourth round is now under consideration in bid to solve fixture pile-up, after games were postponed following the death of the Queen
- Football matches were postponed last weekend following the Queen’s death
- English football was shut down from the top flight to grassroots out of respect
- But Prem chiefs now face a tough challenge in rearranging the scrapped fixtures
- Not having FA Cup replays in the third or fourth rounds is now being considered
FA Cup third and fourth round replays could be scrapped this season as clubs look to catch up on games postponed following the death of the Queen.
The replays were ditched in each of the last two seasons, and this is now one solution under consideration to solve the fixture backlog.
Last weekend’s Premier League programme was called off as a mark of respect and two more high-profile fixtures, at Chelsea and Manchester United, have been cancelled this coming Sunday.
It leaves clubs facing a potential fixture pile-up later in the season, exacerbated by the pause in the campaign caused by the World Cup in Qatar.
Seven top-flight matches will take place over the weekend, with Brighton v Crystal Palace the other game off having already been postponed due to planned rail strikes.
‘Following extensive consultation with clubs, police, local Safety Advisory Groups and other relevant authorities, there was no other option but to postpone the three fixtures,’ a Premier League statement read.
Premier League football was put on hold last weekend following the death of Queen Elizabeth
English top-flight chiefs now face a tough challenge in rearranging the 13 cancelled games
‘The Premier League would like to thank the UK Football Policing Unit and other police forces across the country, as well as our broadcast partners, for their support during this process, and will continue to liaise with them ahead of the weekend.
‘For the matches being played during the period of national mourning, tributes will be paid to the Queen at Premier League stadiums.
‘New dates for the postponed matches will be announced in due course.’
The kick-off times for two of Sunday’s games have also been altered, Brentford v Arsenal now starting at 12 noon rather than 2pm and Everton v West Ham starting at 2.15pm.
Thursday’s Europa League game between Arsenal and PSV has been postponed with police resources in London stretched in the build-up to the Queen’s funeral on Monday, September 19.
There are only three available midweek slots between now and the end of the season
But Chelsea’s midweek Champions League game against Red Bull Salzburg will go ahead as planned, and the midweek EFL programme is unaffected.
In Scotland, Rangers’ Champions League tie with Napoli has been put back a day to Wednesday, September 14, due to ‘severe limitations on police resources and organisational issues’.
However, professional domestic football in the country will resume this weekend, the Scottish Football Association said on Monday.
The Football Association of Wales said all its competitions can resume from Tuesday.
All EFL matches scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday are set to go ahead, with clubs planning to pay tribute to the Queen.