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FA, Premier League agree to scrap FA Cup replays from 2024-25

FA, Premier League agree to scrap FA Cup replays from 2024-25
© Reuters
The FA and Premier League agree to scrap FA Cup replays from the first round of the tournament onwards due to expanded UEFA competitions.

The FA have announced that there will be no replays in the FA Cup proper from the 2024-25 season onwards as part of a new agreement with the Premier League.

In the current edition of the FA Cup, all qualifying and proper matches up until the fifth round had replays, but top-flight managers in particular have voiced their displeasure at adding another game to an already-congested calendar.

The schedule is set to become even more relentless for teams in the upper echelons next year, when the revamped Champions League will feature 36 teams instead of 32, while FIFA's expanded Club World Cup in 2025 will also be comprised of 32 sides.

FA Cup replays are still considered sacred for lower-division teams for financial reasons, but calls for rematches to be scrapped have now been sanctioned by the FA as part of a new six-year agreement.

The governing body has announced that qualifying matches will still contain replays, but games from the first round onwards will be settled on the day with extra time and penalties if needs be.

Manchester City's Ilkay Gundogan celebrates with the trophy after winning the FA Cup on June 3, 2023© Reuters

FA Cup final to be played on penultimate Premier League weekend

In addition, the FA Cup final will also take place on the penultimate Premier League weekend, rather than keeping the showpiece match as the final fixture on the English football calendar, although no top-flight games will take place that day.

Furthermore, all fourth round, fifth round and quarter-final fixtures will be exclusive of Premier League fixtures, in changes that the FA made "in light of changes to the calendar driven by the expanded UEFA competitions."

The mid-season winter break has also been abolished in favour of a longer summer recuperation period, allowing players a full three weeks off on the basis of "expert advice" from medical and technical professionals."

Speaking to the FA website, chief executive Mark Bullingham said: "The Emirates FA Cup is our biggest asset and generates over 60 per cent of our revenue to invest into the game, so it is critical to secure a strong format for the future.

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

A general shot of Wembley Stadium in May 2020© Reuters

"The new schedule ensures the magic of the Cup is protected and enhanced, while working for the whole of the English game. The longer summer period also allows a much-needed player break before the start of the next season."

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters added: "Throughout our discussions, both parties have been committed to enhancing the scheduling of the Emirates FA Cup, a hugely important domestic competition with a storied history.

"The FA and the Premier League have worked in partnership to deliver more exclusive weekends without compromising the excitement of knockout football and this has been achieved at the same time as allowing us to ease fixture congestion generally."

The 2023-24 FA Cup finals take place this weekend, with holders Manchester City squaring off against Chelsea at Wembley on Saturday before Manchester United meet Championship outfit Coventry City on Sunday.

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