April 18, 2024

FA Cup replays to be scrapped from first round

FA Cup replays to be scrapped from first round

England’s Football Association (FA) Cup replays will be scrapped from the first round onwards in the 2024-25 competition.

All rounds of the Emirates FA Cup will also be played on weekends, including the fifth round which has been played in midweek for the past five seasons, BBC reports.

The changes come as part of a new six-year agreement between the Football Association (FA) and the Premier League.

The Premier League has also removed its mid-season break from the calendar.

Matches will start in mid-August following a consecutive three-week summer break instead of a shorter spell of rest in the winter, with the decision coming from “expert advice from medical and technical departments”.

In its current format, the FA Cup has no replays from the fifth round onwards, but the FA says the move to eliminate them from an earlier stage has been made “in light of changes to the calendar driven by the expanded Uefa competitions”.

UEFA launched the Europa Conference League in 2021 and the number of teams in the Champions League group stage will rise from 32 to 36 next season. FIFA has announced an expanded 32-team Club World Cup for 2025.

The FA Cup qualifying rounds – where teams from the fifth to the 10th tiers of English football compete for 32 spots in the first round – will still have replays.

The first round of the FA Cup sees professional teams from League One and League Two enter, with Championship and Premier League teams joining from the third round.

Other changes will see the fourth and fifth rounds, and the quarter-finals, played without clashing with any Premier League fixtures for the first time.

The fourth round will be played in an extended window from Friday to Wednesday.

The FA Cup final has also been moved to the penultimate weekend of the Premier League season.

It will be played on a Saturday, and will also be independent of any Premier League matches, as will the Friday before the final “to allow focus on the build-up to the showpiece event”.

The agreement also sees the Premier League increasing its funding to grassroots football, with an additional £33m being provided.

“The FA Cup is our biggest asset,” said FA chief executive Mark Bullingham.

“This new agreement between the FA and the Premier League strengthens the FA Cup and gives this very special tournament exclusive weekends in an increasingly busy calendar.

“We have also agreed new funding for the grassroots game, disability football and the women’s and girls’ game.

“All football begins at the grassroots, and this is recognised by the Premier League with very welcome additional financial support.”