Why Man City won’t be excluded from the Carabao Cup

Manchester City will not be ruled out from the Carabao Cup or lose their semi-final to Manchester United next week, despite a COVID-19 outbreak at the club which has already seen a Premier League clash with Everton postponed.

City confirmed just hours before facing Everton on Monday night that there were a “number of positive cases” in the latest round of testing, in addition to four that had already been reported on Christmas Day.

City explained that with their bubble compromised there was an increased threat to other players and staff and beyond. The club have also temporarily closed their first-team training center in an attempt to limit the possibility of further spreading.

But with the games this time of year arriving quickly and the protocols requiring periods of isolation for anyone potentially exposed to a positive case, the Everton game is unlikely to be the only one affected and there could be new postponements.

As it stands, City are set to face Chelsea in the Premier League on Sunday, followed by the Carabao Cup semi-final against Manchester United three days later.

Leyton Orient was sent off from the Carabao Cup earlier this season as they were deemed unable to safely complete their third round match against Tottenham due to an outbreak. But the same fate would not befall City, even if angry social media voices are already calling it unfair.

Leyton Orient v Tottenham Hotspur - Carabao Cup Third Round
Leyton Orient had to give up third round draw against Tottenham | Julian Finney / Getty Images

The competition rules state that forfeits in such circumstances are only applied to the first four rounds. It was at this point that the schedule was severely squeezed in order to fit all matches into a shorter window and to postpone and rearrange the games would have been impossible.

Editing requests have been relaxed slightly since then and the finale has actually been pushed back from its original date of February 28, 2021 to April 25, 2021. The logic was to give as many fans as possible a chance to attend. if the coronavirus is no longer under control by the spring.

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