FA facing HUGE rebate bills from broadcasters if Covid-19 spike sees live FA Cup matches called off this weekend with clubs set to be asked to forfeit fixtures
- FA Cup matches over the weekend at under serious threat of being called off
- A nationwide spike in coronavirus cases means some teams are unable to play
- The FA faces footing a huge rebate bill if matches for live televisions are hit
The FA are braced for rebate demands from broadcasters that could cost them millions if FA Cup third-round ties are called off due to positive Covid tests.
A number of matches scheduled to be televised this weekend are in doubt, with Southampton v Shrewsbury almost certainly off, and overseas rights-holders are expected to demand money back if fixtures cannot be fulfilled.
The FA may force clubs unable to play to forfeit the ties due to a lack of room in the calendar for rearranged fixtures, a move that has emboldened broadcasters to discuss rebates.
If live FA Cup matches are canceled the competition faces huge bills from broadcasters
Media agency IMG withheld more than £20million from the FA after last season’s quarter-finals were postponed for months following the first lockdown, and could do so again, particularly as they are still seeking to renegotiate a contract worth £820m over six years.
Shrewsbury are unlikely to play at Southampton having recorded 10 positive Covid tests on Wednesday, a significant increase on the two reported last week that led to their League One game against Crewe being postponed.
The third-round tie at the St Mary’s on Saturday was due to be televised by BT Sport, who could also demand a rebate.
Derby plan to use Under 23 and Under 18 players to fulfil their fixture at Chorley, with all of Wayne Rooney’s first-team squad excluded following an outbreak at the Championship club.
Derby County interim manager Wayne Rooney and his first team players will not play in this Saturday’s FA Cup third round tie against non-league Chorley amid a Covid-19 outbreak
National League North team Chorley stunned League One Peterborough in the last round
Sheffield Wednesday’s trip to Exeter is also in doubt after they were forced to shut their training ground to try to limit the spread of the virus.
With fixture congestion an increasing problem, the draws for the fourth and fifth rounds will take place on Monday to aid scheduling.
They will be conducted live on BT Sport by Peter Crouch from 7.10pm. Fourth-round matches will take place on the weekend of January 23-24, with fifth-round games in midweek from February 9-11.
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