The FA have confirmed a provisional timetable for the resumption and completion of this season’s FA Cup with Arsenal set to play their quarter-final tie with Sheffield United behind-closed-doors at Bramall Lane on the weekend of June 27 and 28.
Mikel Arteta’s squad had been due to face the Blades back in March before the boss’ positive coronavirus diagnosis brought a shuddering halt to top-level football in England.
The semi-finals will take place across the weekend of Saturday 11 July and Sunday 12 July, with the Emirates FA Cup Final to be played on Saturday 1 August. It’s expected Wembley will get the nod to host the latter stages of the competition although venues and kick-off times haven’t yet been confirmed.
News of the FA Cup’s return comes hot off the heels of yesterday’s confirmation that the Premier League will return on 17 June with all 92 outstanding matches set to be televised in the UK.
“We are pleased to agree the provisional restart date for the 2019-20 Emirates FA Cup,” said FA chief executive officer, Mark Bullingham.
“The competition has been an integral part of the English football calendar for nearly 150 years, and we’d like to thank the Premier League executive and clubs for their support in scheduling the remaining matches during this unprecedented time.
“This has been a difficult period for many people and, while this is a positive step, the restart date is dependent on all safety measures being met. The health and wellbeing of players, staff and supporters remains our priority.”
It remains to be seen what format the FA Cup returns in next season. Usually, qualifiers for non-league sides would start in August, however, with no date set for the resumption of amateur team sports, it seems hard to believe they’ll be able to take part. If feels like a streamlined competition is an inevitability, especially with so many smaller sides struggling financially.