FA Cup: Fans of ‘elite’ clubs unable to attend second qualifying round ties

Fans at FA Cup tie
Spectators have been able to attend matches at grounds in the seventh tier and below – while adhering to social distancing guidelines – since the middle of August

Fans of National League North and South clubs will be unable to attend their team’s FA Cup second qualifying round matches this weekend.

Games being hosted by sixth-tier clubs will be played behind closed doors.

Meanwhile, only home fans are allowed at ties where sixth-tier teams are the visitors to clubs below that level.

For matches in which both teams are below the sixth tier, supporters of both the home and visiting teams are permitted to attend.

The FA says the position “will be reviewed again” before the third qualifying round.

Clubs in the National League – steps one and two of the non-league pyramid – are considered “elite”.

Fans have been able to attend games at seventh-tier grounds and below since the middle of August, provided they adhere to social distancing guidelines.

It was hoped that the phased return of spectators to elite sporting events would move to the next stage at the start of October, but a recent rise in coronavirus cases led Prime Minister Boris Johnson to put those plans on hold.

Corinthian-Casuals, who play in the seventh-tier Isthmian Premier League, are due to host Dulwich Hamlet of National League South in their second qualifying round tie on Saturday and described the decisionexternal-link as “utterly baffling” and “wholly unnecessary”.

The National League season is scheduled to get under way on Saturday and, with no imminent prospect of clubs receiving matchday revenue, the league said last week it was in talks with the government and the FA regarding a “critical financial support package”.

Wealdstone have said a live screening of their home league match against Chesterfieldexternal-link will take place at their social club on Saturday, although “all windows and viewing access to the pitch will be closed off”.

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