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FA Cup 2020: What will happen with coronavirus cancelling matches and when will matches be played?

17:10 WAT 20/03/2020
Pep Guardiola FA Cup 2019
England's oldest domestic cup competition is at the quarter-final stage but there's still some doubt over when and how the tournament will be finished

The future of this season’s FA Cup has been thrown into doubt with the suspension of all English football until at least April 30.

Just eight teams remain in the oldest cup competition in the world, but the outbreak of coronavirus means that when football does return, finishing the Premier League will likely take priority.

That could leave the FA Cup quarter-finalists in a state of limbo and Goal looks at the possible outcomes of the tournament.

When will the FA Cup be played?

The Football Association (FA) are yet to make a specific statement about the FA Cup, which is little surprise considering the complexities surrounding the likes of Manchester City and Manchester United.

Both teams are still involved in European competition as well as the FA Cup, and the immediate future of the FA Cup is likely to rest on how UEFA decide to finish the Champions League and Europa League.

While the FA Cup can, and likely will, be played during midweek when the Premier League returns, both City and United face the prospect of deep runs in European competition which could jeopardise the availability of their schedules. Chelsea also remain in Europe and the FA Cup, but face an uphill task to overturn a 3-0 deficit against Bayern Munich in the Champions League last 16.

The Champions League final is set to take place on a Saturday at the end of June, although a date has yet to be confirmed, with the Europa League final likely being played the Wednesday prior.

UEFA have mooted the possibility of the four quarter-final winners in each European competition playing round-robin tournament to determine the two winners, and that could cause even more disruption in domestic scheduling if City and United reach that stage.

It is unlikely, though, that the FA will want to undermine the prestige of the FA Cup by allowing either team to drop out, and cancelling the tournament in favour of finishing the Premier League would surely cause uproar among the other quarter-finalists.

Indeed, Newcastle have reached the last eight for the first time in 14 years and are looking to lift the trophy 65 years since they last did so, whilst Arsenal can lift it for the fourth time in seven seasons.

The FA Cup final itself will likely be played in July at the very earliest, even if the Premier League does return on April 30, while a later restart date could see the showpiece not taking place until August or later.