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A read of the FA Cup rules unlikely to put off Redknapp
Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp’s frank admission that he will send a “mish-mash” side to face Manchester United in Saturday’s FA Cup tie adds to concerns that the competition has lost its elite status.
Speaking after sneaking through their League Cup semi-final second leg 6-4 on aggregate against Championship (second division) Burnley on Wednesday, Redknapp moaned:
“We’ve got some tough games, we’ve a game at Man United that really is so secondary to me now. We’re in a relegation battle and I can’t risk Jamie O’Hara, Jonathan Woodgate and Michael Dawson at Old Trafford.
“If Alex (Ferguson) is listening, I’m really going to send a real mish-mash team up there. I hope it doesn’t upset the fans, but we played extra-time and we’re out on our feet a little bit.
“The lads who didn’t play tonight will play and I’m going to rest the key players who played tonight because I can’t afford to lose any more to injuries.”
However, a delve into the FA Cup rules shows that maybe Redknapp was a bit hasty in confessing his master plan as Rule 15a of the FA Cup states:
“Each team participating in a match shall represent the full available strength of each competing club.”
There is no explanation of what punishment breaking this rule a team can expect to receive and it is unlikely that Tottenham will suffer with so many other ‘big’ teams ignoring it previously.
But perhaps offering the winners of the FA Cup a much coveted Champions League place would prevent the wonderful old trophy losing any more prestige?
PHOTO: Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp gestures during their English League Cup match at Burnley, Jan. 21, 2009. REUTERS/Phil Noble