FA working on fixture mess

The Football Association is attempting to sort out the fixture mess that was caused by the FA Cup quarter-final draw between Manchester United and Chelsea.

Last Updated: 11/03/13 at 14:28 Post Comment

Everything hinges on Chelsea's Europa League encounter with Steaua Bucharest at Stamford Bridge on Thursday.

If Rafael Benitez's men are able to overturn a 1-0 first-leg deficit, they would qualify for a quarter-final that would be played in the two midweeks immediately prior to the confirmed FA Cup semi-final dates of April 13 and 14.

The preceding international break rules out United heading to Chelsea for the right to play Manchester City in the last four any earlier, as it is impractical to cancel Premier League fixtures due to be played this weekend as some have suggested.

It would leave the FA either asking for matches on Easter weekend - United visit Sunderland and Chelsea head to Southampton, both for TV fixtures - to be postponed, or those on the following weekend, which would include the Manchester derby.

The FA might be loath to do that, though, because it merely stacks up a problem for later in the season, with matches from this weekend, and those due to be played when the semi-finals take place, already needing to be rearranged.

That would force Chelsea into sandwiching the replay at the start of a midweek that also involves a European commitment.

Even that is not straightforward as Fulham are due to entertain QPR on Easter Monday, April 1, and local police are unlikely to sanction a cup tie on the same day.

The following Monday is when United are set to entertain City, although that fixture was set to be pushed back to the previous Saturday had Sir Alex Ferguson's men made it past Real Madrid in the Champions League.

An additional complication is whether Chelsea get drawn to play at home first, or away in the Europa League draw when it is made on Friday.

These complications would disappear if Benitez's men fail to make it past Steaua this week, with the replay then likely to be played during the first week of April, even though UEFA prefers major countries not to arrange domestic fixtures at the same time as their competitions.

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

F

irst Townsend, now Chiles. What next ITV? Comedy that you can actually watch without vomiting up your own spleen? I'll be sad to see Matt Smith go though. I actually quite like him. Plus, he was good in Doctor Who.

sailingmagpie
Adrian Chiles to leave ITV

H

e's like Jay from Inbetweeners. Could've had him, had him, didn't want him, turned him down.

lee
Wenger criticises work permits

A

wful, awful pundit. He was crap on BBC, and offered a little more analysis than Robbie Savage - apart from the delivery of banality in a sexy accent. Also, as I'm Irish he'll never be more then a slimy, hand-balling f**ker in my eyes.

batdog
Football People On TV: Thierry Henry

Footer 365

Sepp Blatter shrugs-off UEFA's challenge to his leadership as 'lacking courage'

Sepp Blatter tells UEFA “they do not have the courage” to sufficiently challenge his leadership at this year's election.

Transfer news: Sam Allardyce unsure whether Darren Fletcher will join West Ham

Manager Sam Allardyce admits he is unsure whether Darren Fletcher will choose to join West Ham or another club.

Transfer news: Wigan close to signings of Chris Herd from Aston Villa and Jason Pearce from Leeds

Wigan are close to signing Aston Villa's Chris Herd on loan and Leeds' Jason Pearce permanently, Sky sources understand.

Mail Box

Appalling, Slow, Pathetic, Embarrassing

It's a bonus Saturday Mailbox, with plenty of reaction to the most alarming 0-0 draw in Manchester United's recent history. At what point do we worry about Louis van Gaal?

Why Do Man United Look So Impotent?

It's all very well talking about formations and United's defensive problems, but shouldn't their expensive attacking options be doing better? And we talk psychology...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company