FORMAL RESPONSE

Scrapping FA Cup replays on agenda for ‘New Deal for Football’ meeting

Neither cup is run by the Premier League so it would have to approach the FA and EFL about any potential changes.

In Summary

• Neither the FA nor the EFL has offered any formal response to the prospect of their flagship competitions being altered and it is understood discussions between them and the Premier League are yet to take place.

• However, with the Premier League remaining at 20 clubs, the space can only be found by using midweeks currently reserved for the EFL Cup or FA Cup third and fourth-round replays.

Manchester United's Marcus Rashford in action with West Ham United's Declan Rice
Manchester United's Marcus Rashford in action with West Ham United's Declan Rice
Image: FILE

Premier League clubs will discuss permanently scrapping FA Cup replays at a meeting on Wednesday.

Talks will also take place over major changes to the EFL Cup as part of the ‘New Deal For Football’ talks.

Neither cup is run by the Premier League so it would have to approach the FA and EFL about any potential changes.

Clubs are concerned by the increased strain on an already packed calendar that Uefa’s Champions League expansion will create from 2024. FA Cup replays were scrapped in the 2020-21 season to help with the fixture backlog caused by Covid-19.

They were also scrapped for the third and fourth round last season.

Neither the FA nor the EFL has offered any formal response to the prospect of their flagship competitions being altered and it is understood discussions between them and the Premier League are yet to take place.

The Champions League turns into a 36-team competition from its present 32 in 2024, with all three European competitions having a play-off to get to the last 16. Uefa is yet to decide the actual dates they want for their additional games.

However, with the Premier League remaining at 20 clubs, the space can only be found by using midweeks currently reserved for the EFL Cup or FA Cup third and fourth-round replays.

As many managers feel there are already too many games for the elite clubs, both scenarios relating to the FA Cup and EFL Cup are being discussed by the Premier League as part of an overall revamp of the game, which will involve tighter financial controls at the top end, in line with Uefa regulations, which they expect to be taken up by the EFL.

These measures would also include larger financial help for EFL clubs, with an alteration to the current parachute payments, which it is acknowledged give the clubs receiving them a huge financial advantage.

It is understood that even England’s biggest clubs are committed to retaining the EFL Cup, as they recognise its commercial value. However, realistically, if it remained as a 92-club competition, those featuring in Europe would either play drastically reduced squads or select solely from their under-21 squad as they would have to play two mid-week matches at certain points.

The strain on the calendar can be seen by the issues involved in re-arranging the 13 Premier League matches postponed following the death of Queen Elizabeth II. It is understood the idea is to re-arrange the games from 10-12 September as a 10-match block and there are no plans to alter the format for this season’s EFL Cup or FA Cup.

However, the three spare midweeks in April and May when a full round of matches could go were created for Premier League games that had been postponed because of clashes with the EFL Cup final or FA Cup sixth round and semi-finals, meaning new dates would have be found for them.

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