FA defends scrapping Cup replays despite huge backlash from fans | Football

Erling Haaland lifts the FA Cup trophy after last season’s victory (Picture: Getty)

The Football Association has defended the decision to scrap FA Cup replays despite a significant backlash from supporters and clubs, while they have rejected suggestions the changes were made without proper consultation.

From next season, there will no longer be FA Cup replays from the first round onwards while all rounds of the competition will now be played on weekends.

The decision has not gone down well, though, with many lower league sides benefiting financially from replays, with League Two club Tranmere Rovers branding the changes ‘disgraceful’ and Peterborough chairman Darragh MacAnthony warning of a ‘full-on fallout’ within English football.

But the FA say due process was followed when making the changes, with representatives of the EFL involved from the start, and insist the new calendar will bring greater financial opportunities as well as protecting players.

A statement on Friday read: ‘We have listened to the concerns expressed over the last 24 hours and would like to outline the approval process which was undertaken for the 2024-25 professional game football calendar.

‘We have been discussing the calendar for the 2024-25 season with the Premier League and EFL for well over a year.

‘Removing Emirates FA Cup replays was discussed in the early meetings and all parties accepted that they could not continue.

‘The discussions then focused on how to make all of our competitions stronger, despite having fewer dates available and wanting to maintain player welfare.

The Emirates FA Cup Final between Chelsea and Manchester United

The FA Cup changes have not gone down well (Picture: Getty Images)

‘The changes to the Emirates FA Cup achieve this by returning it to a weekend competition on every round and ensuring that we have exclusive broadcast slots in an increasingly congested calendar.

‘To clarify, we have also increased the number of Emirates FA Cup matches that will be broadcast in the early rounds, which will lead to additional guaranteed broadcast revenue for EFL and National League teams.

‘Additionally, we review the prize money annually for the competition, together with representatives from the EFL and PL and will do the same for the 2024-25 season.

‘The calendar for next season was approved by the Professional Game Board, which consists of four EFL representatives and four Premier League representatives, last month, and then by the FA Board, which includes Premier League, EFL, National Game and grassroots representation. This is the process we undergo every year to approve the calendar.

‘We understand the concerns expressed over the last 24 hours, and we will be sharing more details with clubs very shortly to explain the additional revenue opportunities in the early rounds.

‘We will keep this under review as the new calendar begins to ensure that EFL and National League clubs do not lose out.’

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