The women’s FA Cup will only resume after England’s exit from the lockdown, the Football Federation confirmed on Wednesday, further delaying this season’s competition.
Sport Telegraph understands that the idea of settling the previous delayed rounds of the Cup by draws has not been completely taken off the table, but it now seems unlikely that the organizers of the competition will follow that route as there is no has more rush to find a solution before January 31.
This was the date the fourth round was due to be played, when the ‘elite’ clubs of the Women’s Super League and the Women’s Championship enter. However, no match will be held this month following Wednesday’s announcement, with the country set to remain stranded until at least mid-February, and possibly March.
A first-round match and 17 second-round matches remain pending, while nine third-round matches – which have yet to be drawn – have yet to be settled somehow before the competition can take place.
This is because all of the Cup rounds before the fourth round have been classified as “non-elite” by the government, which means they cannot be played during lockdown. Only one of the 18 second-round matches took place on January 3, just before England re-entered the lockdown. The fourth round is considered “elite” and could play under the current restrictions.
The FA will hold talks with all clubs still involved, hoping to resolve the situation once the lockdown is over.
Many players reacted critically to the suggestion – revealed by Sport Telegraph – that the FA might have to use draws to settle the result of deferred “non-elitist” matches.
Sport Telegraph understands that one of the main reasons the FA is reluctant to delay the final stages of the competition is because of the planned training camp for Team GB’s women’s team in June, shortly after the final on May 22 at Wembley. This camp and the Tokyo Olympics, which are set to start in July, make it unlikely that the FA will be able to revamp the Cup final during the summer months.
“With all sports across the country outside of the elite level currently closed, the competition is not in a position where the second and third rounds can be played, as clubs currently competing are not allowed to train. or to play because they are amateurs. level, “said an FA statement.
“While it would have been possible to play elite vs. non-elite matches on elite criteria with government support, as seen in the Emirates FA Cup, matches involving all non-elite teams do not do not meet elite criteria and currently cannot run.
“Therefore, the competition will remain on hold during the current lockdown, with a number of options currently being explored on how best to end it. The health and well-being of players and staff is of paramount importance and we are not prepared to put anyone at risk during this pandemic.
“The FA remains the preference to end the 2020-2021 competition with all clubs having the opportunity to play their matches, however, developments will continue to be closely watched and will be reviewed before further decisions are made. The FA will now enter a consultation period with all clubs that remain in competition, alongside those scheduled to enter from the fourth round, to discuss the options available. “