Southampton V Shrewsbury FA Cup Game In Doubt
Wednesday, 6th Jan 2021 14:21
Shrewsbury Town have issued an official statement regarding their ability to play the 3rd round FA Cup tie on Saturday against Saints at St Mary's, suggesting that the game might well be called off.
Shrewsbury Town have issued the following statement:
"Shrewsbury Town Football Club can confirm several members of the Town squad and first team staff have tested positive for Covid-19.
"In accordance with EFL and Government guidelines, all concerned individuals will now enter 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 have informed Shropshire Public Health, EFL, and the FA of the current situation and we will continue discussions with the relevant football authorities.
"The club will be making no further comment at this time and ask that each individual involved has their privacy respected. Necessary updates will be provided in due course."
Shrewsbury were forced to call off their match at the weekend due to an outbreak of Covid 19 in their squad and this seems to be where Saturday's game at St Mary's is heading.
But calling off a League game is easier because it can be replayed at a later date in a season even if it is months later, but in a knockout competition like the FA Cup it is different.
The FA so far has made no definitive comment about the current situation, although reports in the media have quoted sources from the FA as saying that there is no other option to them except to make any team unable to fulfil a fixture to forfeit the game.
The suggestion was that a club should play the match even if it means putting out youth players, if it doesn't fulfil the fixture then it will be forfeited.
Most clubs should be able to do that, even a team in League One or two will operate with a first team squad of 20 or so players and will have a youth side, that would mean they would need to have something like 15 players unable to play due to Covid before they are down to what are friend "Arry" would refer to as the Bare Bones.
It is harsh, but it has a precedent with Orient forfeiting a League Cup match against Spurs earlier in the season due to Covid.
No one wants this sort of thing to happen, no one wants to go through or for that matter go out due to a club being unable to field a side, but due to time constraints unplayed fixtures cant be pushed back for months as they can be in the League.
So it looks like there will be no 3rd round tie for Saints this year, unless Shrewsbury decide to take a chance and put out a severely depleted team.
Given that Saints are likely to play one themselves due to injury in the squad and the need to conserve players with a midweek game to Leeds looming, perhaps it might be worth them taking the chance.
Photo: Action Images
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Letters from Wiltshire #28 by wessex_exile
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Letters from Wiltshire #27 by wessex_exile
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Letters from Wiltshire #26 by wessex_exile
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Letters from Wiltshire #24 by wessex_exile
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