A FOURTH club pulls out of the FA Cup hours before they were set to kick off, it has been confirmed on Tuesday afternoon.
Just a few days ago, Surrey part-timers Redhill were forced to postpone their tie against their Combined Counties League Premier Division opponents Egham Town, due to a player contracting coronavirus.
Then on Monday afternoon, a second FA Cup tie – planned to be streamed live by the BBC – was forfeited. The BBC have since confirmed that Maine Road vs Squires Gate replaces the initial selection.
United Counties League Division One outfit Burton Park Wanderers, who were set to take on AFC Sudbury of the Isthmian League North Division, revealed that one of their squad members also picked up the virus.
Becoming the latest to fall victim Covid-19 is Eastern Counties League Premier Division side Walsham-le-Willows who had been set to play Newmarket Town on the same day as the frustrating announcement.
They wrote in a statement on Twitter: “It is with regret that Walsham le Willows FC have to announce that we have withdrawn from the FA Cup due to one of our squad testing positive for Covid-19 on Monday the 31st of August.
“He was and is not showing any symptoms but had recently returned from a holiday in Zante.
“We apologise to our opponents Newmarket Town, supporters and all followers of the grass roots game. We consider the safety and health of all people involved in the local game to be more important than a football match and we currently await advice from the F.A. and Public Health England in how this will affect the club going forward, we wish Newmarket Town all the best in the next round.”
Burton Park Wanderers said in their statement: “BPWFC have to announce with huge regret that we have had to withdraw from the FA Cup preliminary qualifying round.
“We received confirmation last night that one of our First Team players has tested positive for Covid-19.
“Following the advice from Public Health England, we have now advised those who had close contact with the player in question to get a test and to self-isolate for the next 14 days. The advice given is that this is limited to BPWFC management team and players. League fixtures will be suspended during this 2 week period.
“We hope everyone involved has a clean bill of health in the coming weeks and we look forward to the resumption of First Team football.
“Please also bear with us, for ticket refunds. The club committee have been working tirelessly and extremely hard over the last week putting things in place for this game, we are still trying to deal with what has happened and we want to thank each and every one of you who reached out to help and support a small local football club try and achieve their dream.
“BPWFC would also like to wish AFC Sudbury all the best in their next round in the FA Cup.”
Redhill announced in a statement via the club’s website: “We have received confirmation that one of our First Team players has tested positive today for Covid-19.
“Following detailed consultation with Public Health England, we are advising those who had close contact with the player in question to self-isolate for the next 14 days. The advice given is that this is limited to Redhill FC management team and players who shared the dressing room; fixtures will be suspended during this 2 week period.
“We hope everyone involved has a clean bill of health in the coming weeks and we look forward to the resumption of First Team football.”
A further statement was issued on Sunday, just days before their tie was set to go ahead, it read: “Further to our COVID-19 Statement released earlier this week, we have assessed the impact on our upcoming First Team fixtures. Regrettably, we must forfeit the FA Cup Extra-preliminary round tie against Egham Town on Tuesday evening next; we wish Egham Town the very best in the Preliminary Round on Saturday the 12th of September.
“We remain positive and optimistic about the prospects of our full squad and management team returning to competitive football and thank everyone for their kind support at this time.”
Droylsden were the first club to pull out of the competition, along with the upcoming Northern Premier League campaign.
At the start of the month, they said: “Droylsden Football Club have as of today resigned from the Northern Premier League and will also take no part in Cup Competition this season
“In a letter sent to the Northern Premier League, Chairman Dave Pace described the decision as the most difficult he has ever had to make.
“However the disruption caused by the Covid-19 crisis has left him with no alternative.
“The closing of the social club and its function rooms since the start of the pandemic, the main income source with no indication of any restart on viable trading terms along with a loss of income from the club’s main sponsor has left the club with no visible alternative income stream during the crisis.
“The club may hopefully survive this crisis and continue into the future in less challenging circumstances than we find ourselves in during the present.””