A first FA Cup Third Round fixture has been postponed with yet another tie, Aston Villa’s game against Liverpool on Friday is at risk.
It’s set to be one of the most exciting rounds of the FA Cup we’ve ever seen with various non league sides getting drawn within the top two tiers of English football.
However, just like we have seen with league fixtures up and down the country, we have seen a rising number of postponements and it’s not just down to Covid.
Snow, heavy rain and frozen pitches are just some among the weather warnings that has plastered the map of England, even leaving some non league grounds underwater over the festive period.
A number of first-team staff members and players have tested positive this week.
Shrewsbury Town, who sit 17th in the League One table, rising up thanks to Steve Cotterill, reluctantly advise the FA that we are unable to fulfil our third round Emirates FA Cup fixture with Southampton.
The club confirmed several members of the their squad and first team staff tested positive for Covid.
In accordance with EFL and Government guidelines, all concerned individuals have now entered into a period of self-isolation. The health and safety of all staff members at Shrewsbury Town Football Club remains paramount and the Club continually takes all necessary steps to protect all where possible.
The Club has informed Shropshire Public Health, the EFL, and the FA of the current situation. We reluctantly have had to advise the FA that we are unable to fulfil our third round Emirates FA Cup fixture with Southampton this Saturday following medical advice given to the Club that it would be unsafe to play the match.
No training has taken place since last week and the Club has closed our Sundorne Castle Training Ground for 10 days. This decision and our actions have been supported by Public Health (Shropshire).
Shropshire Council has been working closely with Shrewsbury Town to manage Covid-19 cases at the football club. Rachel Robinson, Shropshire’s Director of Public Health, said: “We have been made aware of positive cases of Covid-19 at Shrewsbury Town Football Club. We are working closely with the Club to help limit any further potential spread. All positive cases, as well as close contacts, are self-isolating for at least 10 days in line with national guidance.
“The Club has acted responsibly and taken all the necessary precautions to limit the spread of the virus, which in this case has required closing the training ground and isolating all close contacts. The Club are also following all the Government’s Elite Sport protocols, which include regularly testing for players and staff.
“We are now at a critical point in our battle against Covid-19. We have seen a sharp increase in cases and our local health services are coming under increasing pressure. That’s why we are urging everyone to follow the measures designed to keep everyone safe – stay at home, limit your contact with people outside your household and support bubble and wash your hands regularly.”
Town would like to place on record our thanks to the relevant sporting bodies and their medical advisors, Southampton Football Club for their understanding, and Public Health (Shropshire) for their support and guidance. We hope that all staff with positive Covid-19 test results make a full and speedy recovery.
Aston Villa’s game with Liverpool is also in doubt of going ahead.
Aston Villa can confirm that the Club has closed its Bodymoor Heath training ground after a significant Coronavirus outbreak.
A large number of first team players and staff returned positive tests after being routinely tested on Monday and immediately went into isolation.
A second round of testing was carried out immediately and produced more positive results today.
First team training ahead of tomorrow’s FA Cup match with Liverpool was cancelled.
Discussions are ongoing between medical representatives of the Club, the Football Association and the Premier League.
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Wayne Rooney and Derby’s first-team squad will miss their FA Cup tie at Chorley on Saturday following a Covid outbreak which closed their training ground on Monday.
In a briefing to competing teams, the Football Association have insisted the FA Cup has to continue and cannot be delayed; the FA are paying for testing for all non-Premier League sides ahead of the competition’s third-round ties.
The FA have insisted the FA Cup has to go on, with rescheduling matches for a later date not considered straightforward with an already congested fixture list.
Teams should field a team if they have at least 14 fit players, and they do not necessarily have to be from the first team, but across the squad as a whole.
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.
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.
Leyton Orient have already seen them get booted out of the Carabao Cup following an outbreak of Covid in the squad, with Spurs given a bye into the next round of the competition.