FA Cup fourth round: Confirmed VAR, substitute and extra time rules

Michael Graham
The FA Cup rules for this season are a bit complicated
The FA Cup rules for this season are a bit complicated / Alex Livesey/GettyImages

The FA Cup fourth round is set to get underway this week which will see minnows dreaming again and giants fearing banana skins.

It’s perhaps fair to say that the fourth round doesn’t carry the magic of round three, but it is still a beloved day on the English football calendar.

These days it can be tough to keep up with all the various different rules, so here is what you need to know about the 2022/23 FA Cup fourth round.  

Will VAR be in operation during the FA Cup fourth round?

Well, it’s complicated – and controversial. The FA Cup is not fully subscribed to VAR because the infrastructure for it has to be installed in the ground for it to operate.

The EFL do not use VAR, and that has caused a dilemma. Should the FA Cup take advantage of VAR wherever they can or risk the sporting integrity of the competition by only making it available for some of the games?

In the end, the FA decided on the former. Therefore, any FA Cup game that is taking place at a Premier league club’s stadium will be covered by VAR. The rest won’t be.

Is there extra-time and penalties in the FA Cup fourth round?

Yes, but only after a replay. Replays had previously been scrapped due to the scheduling problems cause by the Covid pandemic, but they have returned for this season.

Well, they have to a degree. Drawn FA Cup ties up until the quarter-finals with the exception of the fifth round will go to a replay. The fifth round is having to be squeezed into a midweek due to the World Cup break.

As far as the fourth round goes, though, any ties that are level after 90 minutes of a replay will be settled by extra-time and penalties.

How many substitutes can be made in the FA Cup fourth round?

The FA cup gives coaches plenty of leeway when it comes to their substitutes bench in the FA Cup.

Coaches are permitted to name nine players on the bench for cup ties, which is the same number as in the Premier League. It is two more that coaches in the EFL are used to though, with them usually only allowed to name seven.

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They are then allowed to make up to five substitutions during the game as long as they are restricted to three windows. Half time does not count as one of those windows, though.

Additionally, additional permanent concussion substitutions (APCS) are in effect in the FA Cup fourth round. That allows a team to substitute a player off if they have a suspected concussion without having to use up one of their five standard allocation.

If that occurs, though, the opposition will also be allowed to make an additional substitution too.