Coronavirus: FA Cup ties to go ahead as planned despite lockdown measures

FA Cup schedule to go ahead as planned; the 10 non-elite clubs that remain in the competition will be able to play their matches under elite protocols; four-week 'circuit breaker' begins in England on Thursday; Women's FA Cup first-round fixtures to be rescheduled

The North West Counties League Premier Division side are in the first round for the first time since 1971
Image: There are 10 non-elite clubs remaining in the FA Cup

All of this weekend's FA Cup first-round ties have been cleared to go ahead by the Government despite the new lockdown restrictions, the Football Association has announced.

There had been concerns that the suspension of non-elite sport under the lockdown due to come into effect from Thursday would create a problem for the competition, with 10 clubs from below National League level still involved.

However, the FA says the ties will be played under elite protocols.

"We can confirm that all Emirates FA Cup first-round ties will go ahead this weekend as planned," a statement from the governing body read.

"The UK Government has confirmed that the 10 non-elite clubs that remain in the competition will be able to play their matches under elite protocols.

"Matches will take place between November 6 and 9 2020. All ties will be played behind closed doors, in line with COVID-19 guidelines."

The ties include Skelmersdale United, the lowest-ranked side left in the FA Cup, away at League Two Harrogate Town.

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Eighth-tier Marine face Colchester United, Eastbourne Borough play Blackpool, Tonbridge Angels host Bradford City and FC United of Manchester host Doncaster Rovers.

Meanwhile, the draws for the first round proper of the FA Trophy and second round proper of the FA Vase were made on Monday morning although no date has been assigned for either tournament's next round.

The current stage of the Trophy is the last which features only "non-elite" teams. The first round proper had initially been set for November 14, while the second round proper of the Vase was scheduled for November 28.

The FA said in a statement: "We remain in dialogue with the UK Government in relation to men's 'non-elite' football in England and will release the fixture dates for both the Trophy and the Vase in due course."

Premier League football and other elite sports will be allowed to continue during the four-week 'circuit break' which will start in England on Thursday.

They can continue due to the testing regimes in place for professional sportspeople, but amateur sports will be put on hold.

The EFL, women's football down to reserve level, and the National League, are all classified as elite sport and are permitted to continue behind closed doors.

Women's FA Cup first round delayed

The draw for the first round of the Women's FA Cup was made on Monday, less than 24 hours after Manchester City retained the trophy with an extra-time win over Everton at Wembley stadium.

City players celebrate their extra-time win at Wembley
Image: Manchester City will be aiming to make it three in a row in 2020/21

The fixtures were due to take place on November 15 but will have to be rescheduled as they fall into the bracket of "non-elite" sport in England.

The FA said: "We remain in dialogue with the UK Government in relation to women's 'non-elite' football in England and will release the fixture date for the first round in due course."

Full first-round draw

FC United of Manchester Women vs Fleetwood Town Wrens LFC or Liverpool Feds LFC
Chester-Le-Street Town Ladies FC vs Brighouse Town Women FC
Newcastle United Women FC vs Barnsley Women's FC
Wolverhampton Wanderers WFC vs Stourbridge FC Ladies
Lincoln City Women FC vs Solihull Moors Women FC
Wem Town Ladies FC vs Boldmere St Michaels Women FC
Harlow Town Ladies FC vs Ipswich Town LFC
Kent Football Utd LFC or AFC Wimbledon Ladies vs Luton Town Ladies FC/ Enfield Town LFC
Billericay Town LFC vs Maidenhead United LFC
Eastbourne Town LFC or Leyton Orient WFC vs Actonians LFC
AFC Bournemouth Women vs Southampton FC Women
Exeter City Women FC vs Cheltenham Town LFC

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