Could FA Cup matches be postponed this weekend due to Covid-19 outbreaks, and will unaffected teams receive a bye?

THE FA Cup fourth round is about to begin but there are concerns over the futures of teams in the competition if they're stuck down by Covid.

In round three, Southampton saw their game with Shrewsbury postponed after an outbreak among the League One club's squad.

And Derby County and Aston Villa were forced to play development squads against Chorley and Liverpool respectively.

Could matches be postponed because of Covid?

Matches could be postponed if there are Covid outbreaks at competing clubs.

The FA does not have a specific rule as to how these games should be decided but says it is done on a case-by-case basis.

If any teams feels they're unable to field a team, they can apply for an FA review.

It's customary, though, that a side who has 14 fit and available players, go ahead with the game.

The FA will make their decision based off of a number of factors, including whether that particular team followed guidelines correctly, and just how badly affected the squad is.

Will unaffected teams receive a bye?

Earlier this season, the EFL decided that Tottenham would receive a bye into the fourth round of the Carabao Cup after positive test results in their opponents Leyton Orient's squad.

But in contrast, the FA decided Southampton's third round tie with Shrewsbury was to go ahead.

That precedent would suggest that unless a club is deemed to have been negligent, ties will not be forfeited.

However, if a team has 14 or more available players at their club, they can expect to be asked to play their match as scheduled.

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