England’s FA defends cancellation of Cup replay amid criticism

The Football Association (FA) has defended its decision to eliminate FA Cup replays from the first round next season, saying it has discussed the move with the Premier League and the English Football League (EFL). The EFL denied any involvement in the announcement of the new format.

England’s FA defends

The FA said the call was made with the intention of strengthening the competition despite fewer dates being available, and with the welfare of players in mind amid an increasingly busy professional football calendar.

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FA Cup replays have been a source of revenue for clubs in the lower leagues of English football, with the CEO of advocacy group Fair Game calling the FA’s new policy “another nail in the coffin for an already crumbling football pyramid”. EFL chief executive Trevor Birch called Thursday’s announcement “disappointing and disappointing.”

The FA statement said that the EFL was aware of the move.

“We have been discussing the calendar for the 2024-25 season with the Premier League and the EFL for over a year,” the FA said.

England's FA defends
The FA has defended its decision to eliminate FA Cup replays from the first round

The removal of Emirates FA Cup replays was discussed in initial meetings and all parties accepted that they could not continue. The discussion then focused on how to strengthen all our competitions despite the reduced dates available and maintaining the welfare of players.

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“Next season’s calendar was approved last month by the Professional Game Board, which includes four EFL representatives and four Premier League representatives, and then by the FA Board, which includes representation from the Premier League, EFL, National Game and grassroots This is the process we go through every year to approve the calendar.”

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The FA said that other revenue streams for teams in the lower divisions have been created by the amendments.

It added, “We have also increased the number of Emirates FA Cup matches that will be broadcast in the early stages, providing additional guaranteed broadcast revenue for EFL and National League teams.”

Thursday’s statement also said that the FA understood the concerns shared since its initial announcement, and that the institution intended to share more details with affected clubs “very soon”.

However, the EFL responded with a statement of its own on Friday, denying any knowledge of or involvement in the decision to get rid of replays.

“The agreement which now calls for replays to be eliminated from the competition format was agreed solely between the Premier League and the FA,” the EFL said. “There was no agreement with the EFL before the deal was announced nor was there any formal consultation with EFL clubs as FA members and competition participants.

“This latest agreement between the Premier League and the FA, in the absence of financial reform, is another example of how the EFL and its clubs are being marginalized in favor of others further up the pyramid and this can only threaten the future of “Works to put it in.” Of the English game.”


The EFL said such decision-making processes highlight the need for systemic reform.

“The EFL today calls on both the Premier League and the FA, as governing bodies, to re-evaluate their approach to their football partnership with the EFL and engage more collaboratively on the issues directly affecting our clubs.”

This season’s FA Cup semi-finals take place over the weekend, with Manchester City facing Chelsea on Saturday and Coventry City taking on Manchester United on Sunday.

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