FA Cup final could be played in SEPTEMBER as FA chiefs desperate not to cancel competition



Posted Friday, March 27, 2020 by Express.co.uk

The FA are determined to finish the 2019-20 FA Cup and could even hold the final at Wembley as late as September this year.

FA Cup final could be played in SEPTEMBER as FA chiefs desperate not to cancel competition
FA Cup final could be played in SEPTEMBER as FA chiefs desperate not to cancel competition (Image: GETTY)

The Football Association are willing to postpone the FA Cup final until the autumn so they don’t have to completely cancel this season’s competition. The longest-running cup competition in football history, the FA Cup has been played since 1871-72 and has not gone without a final since the Second World War shut down football across the United Kingdom.

But football across the UK - both leagues and cup competitions - is again at risk of having to scrap its current season at respective levels, with the coronavirus pandemic having shut down the country.

With over 500,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus worldwide and more than 23,000 deaths, nations across Europe have gone into lockdown to combat the spread of the deadly virus.

Football has naturally fallen by the wayside and it is expected in the coming days that a new return date for the sport in Britain will be announced, with April 30 deemed too early as the virus continues to spread.

The FA have already recently announced that the season has been “extended indefinitely”, with previous rules having indicated the 2019-20 campaign would need to come to an end before June 30.

FA Cup final could be played in SEPTEMBER as FA chiefs desperate not to cancel competition
FA Cup final could be played in SEPTEMBER as FA chiefs desperate not to cancel competition (Image: GETTY)

And now the association have made it clear they will do whatever it takes to avoid having to abandon this year’s FA Cup, although the final could be delayed until as late as September for the first time ever.

In order to do so, they will align the climax of the competition - with the final traditionally the last fixture in the domestic calendar - with when the English Football League and Premier League seasons finish.

The competition is at the quarter-final stage with the last eight made up entirely of Premier League clubs, including two clubs who have never won it in Norwich and Leicester and another winless post-WW2 in Sheffield United.

Newcastle United meanwhile haven’t made the quarters for 14 years as they seek a first triumph since 1955.

Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United - who have won the FA Cup a combined 39 times - are all in the last eight too.

FA Cup final could be played in SEPTEMBER as FA chiefs desperate not to cancel competition
FA Cup final could be played in SEPTEMBER as FA chiefs desperate not to cancel competition (Image: GETTY)

The quartet make up nine of the last 10 cup-winning clubs, with City the reigning champions of the 148-year-old tournament.

The news comes after English football’s governing body ruled on Thursday that all non-league and grassroots football below the three National League divisions would be expunged from the record due to COVID-19.

But with the National League not yet scrapped, and the EFL and Premier League still hoping to conclude their campaigns, the FA Cup will continue - possibly even into the autumn.

The FA said: “With the 2019-20 Emirates FA Cup, Women’s FA Cup, Buildbase FA Trophy and Buildbase FA Vase all at advanced stages, we are reviewing all options as we seek to complete these competitions whenever it is safe and appropriate to do so.

"Clubs involved are close to reaching a major final and for those clubs and supporters we will do all we can to keep the Wembley dream alive.

FA Cup final could be played in SEPTEMBER as FA chiefs desperate not to cancel competition
FA Cup final could be played in SEPTEMBER as FA chiefs desperate not to cancel competition (Image: GETTY)

"In respect of The FA Youth Cup, The FA County Youth Cup, The FA Sunday Cup and The FA Inter-League Cup, we are also seeking to complete these competitions if it is feasible to do so.

"We will also continue planning for FA competitions to take place for the 2020-21 season.”

The FA’s commitment to the cup is despite the body’s chairman Greg Clarke having told the Premier League earlier this month he did not believe it feasible that the domestic season will be completed.

Clarke was involved in the emergency meeting between top-flight clubs in London that decided the Premier League, EFL, FA Women’s Super League and Women’s Championship would be postponed until April 3, a date then changed to April 30 a week later.

England’s deputy chief medical officer Dr Jenny Harries meanwhile said at the latest Downing Street press briefing that it is "far too early” to predict when the coronavirus outbreak will peak in the UK.

Insisting she could not “predict a precise timing”, Dr Harries said: “The reason for that is we are only just starting to see a bite, if you like, in the interventions and social distancing that have been put into place.

"It would be far too early to predict that. ‘I think we are starting to see some helpful movement, and what we will be looking for is a change in the slope. Rather than being a very steep curve upwards, we will be looking for it to be a gentler slope.

"But we must not take our foot off the peddle. People have been really co-operative and I think in the last few days the public have really understood that this is something very serious and their actions, wherever they are, will save lives.

"So, too early to say yet, but starting to see some movement in the right direction.”

The Premier League are due to meet next Thursday with further discussions likely to take place to finish the season, which may have to be played out behind closed doors, while the EFL will also meet next week.

Both leagues remain determined to finish their fixtures.



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