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FA further anger fans, clubs and managers after responding to backlash on FA Cup changes

The FA have managed to further anger fans, clubs and managers after responding to the backlash on controversial changes to the FA Cup.

They include replays from the first round proper being removed, while the fourth and fifth rounds plus the quarter-finals will be played without Premier League fixtures taking place on the same weekends.

The fourth round will have an extended fixture window from Friday to Wednesday.

The final will now take place on the penultimate weekend of the Premier League season, with no top-flight fixtures taking place on the same day or night before.

The Premier League has also increased funding to the football pyramid, providing up to an additional £33m for grassroots football.

The league will provide up to £133m per season from the 2025-26 season.

The mid-season break has been removed from the calendar to allow for a mid-August start date for the Premier League and a longer summer break.

Premier League managers give their verdict on controversial FA Cup changes

FA STATEMENT:

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 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.

– STATEMENT ENDS –

EFL SAY:

In a statement, EFL chief executive Trevor Birch said: “The EFL notes today’s joint announcement from the FA and Premier League regarding the removal of FA Cup replays and wider calendar changes.

“Whilst the League had previously been involved in discussions over the future of the calendar, these were predicated on the agreement of a new financial deal with the Premier League for EFL Clubs which has not progressed.

“This is frustrating and disappointing given the calendar is a shared asset across football and as we have consistently said a whole game approach is required to find solutions to complex fixture scheduling challenges.

“Our domestic calendar has been put under extreme pressure by the expansion of UEFA competitions and ultimately this represents another lost traditional revenue stream for EFL clubs at a time when the financial gap between the biggest clubs and those further down the pyramid is growing bigger than ever. We will now be discussing the implications for EFL clubs and seeking appropriate compensation arrangements.”

FURTHER EFL RESPONSE:

The EFL wishes to clarify further its position in respect of yesterday’s Premier League and Football Association bi-lateral announcement over the removal of FA Cup replays and the role of the League’s representatives on the Professional Game Board (PGB).

The agreement which now sees the abolition of replays from the competition format was agreed solely between the Premier League and FA.  Ahead of the deal being announced there was no agreement with the EFL nor was there any formal consultation with EFL Clubs as members of the FA and participants in the competition.

In September 2023, the EFL did initially discuss with Clubs potential changes to the FA Cup format but only as part of a wider and more fundamental change to financial distributions. As is now clear, there has been no movement in this area since September.

This latest agreement between the Premier League and the FA, in the absence of financial reform, is just a further example of how the EFL and its Clubs are being marginalised in favour of others further up the pyramid and that only serves to threaten the future of the English game.

The EFL today calls on both the Premier League and the FA, as the Governing body, to re-evaluate their approach to their footballing partnership with the EFL and engage more collaboratively on issues directly affecting our Clubs.

A separate issue is the role of the EFL representatives on the Professional Game Board (PGB) in agreeing to the 2024/25 overall fixture calendar. PGB is there to make technical decisions across the game as opposed to key policy decisions such as competition changes or formats.

Any decisions taken on the calendar involving EFL representatives are in no way an endorsement of the joint deal agreed between the FA and Premier League that imposes changes to the FA Cup competition format in isolation.

As part of the discussions the EFL representatives did challenge the position and were told that Clubs would be comfortable with no replays. They were effectively advised that, as a result, of it being an FA competition, the fixture list needed to be agreed as presented. It is also important to note that this matter was not discussed by the FA Cup committee, a separate group that oversees the competition across the professional and national game.

BRADFORD CITY CHIEF EXECUTIVE RYAN PARKS:

“It’s really disappointing. As clubs in the EFL, we weren’t consulted about this. This news is a hammer blow for so many clubs, ourselves included.

“The FA standing up for the wider game and the rest of the clubs would be welcomed.

“There are clubs in the National League and below where for them it’s life-changing moments and revenue streams. They make up the magic of the competition.

“It’s a real setback particularly because recent talks between the EFL and Premier League haven’t progressed in terms of financial sustainability and bridging the gap.

“It’s been sprung upon us, I received the news through your app! That was the level of consultation we had. I wasn’t expecting it.”

“A significant loss” – Dorking’s Marc White ‘nails it’ reacting to FA Cup replays being scrapped

CAMBRIDGE UNITED STATEMENT:

Cambridge United are extremely disappointed by the Football Association’s decision to remove FA Cup Replays from the First Round onwards from next season…

This appears to have been a deal done behind closed doors without any meaningful consultation with clubs outside the PL and against the democratic spirit of the FA Cup itself.

Replays have not only become a potentially important revenue stream for lower league clubs, but have also enabled thousands of supporters across the country to experience unique and special memories in the competition, such as the U’s 2015 Fourth Round Replay at Old Trafford.

As an organisation that is ‘For All’ we hope that the FA will now pause, consider whether this decision is in the best interests of the wider game and discuss it fully with all parts of the pyramid.

The way this has been done is another clear example of why football needs an Independent Regulator to protect the games heritage and help build a more sustainable game across the football pyramid.

PETERBOROUGH UNITED STATEMENT

Peterborough United Football Club are dismayed at the decision taken by the FA and the Premier League to change the format of the Emirates FA Cup, including the confirmation that replays will be scrapped from the first round proper.

Prior to the release of today’s statement from the FA there had been no recent communication nor consultation with EFL clubs, National League clubs or grassroots clubs who value the competition as a key source of income as well as an opportunity to create lifelong experiences for supporters. The Club believe that the decisions made appear to have placed no importance of the essence of the Emirates FA Cup, in that the competition is famed worldwide as a platform which creates moments of magic that transcend generations.

We believe the Emirates FA Cup achieves this largely down to the existing format and opportunities for David vs Goliath clashes, the promise of a replay is a large part of the dreams which are created and believed in by clubs, players, and fans alike year in year out. Simply creating a cup competition that suits the upper end of the Premier League completely goes against the historic beauty of the competition.

The Club have sought immediate consultation from the EFL and call upon both the governing body and fellow clubs to produce a coordinated response. The power of our voices together should be used to apply the correct pressure to both the FA and the Premier League to retract their decision to avoid a devastating fall out within the football pyramid. Ignoring the major proportion of clubs who these decisions will affect is an incomprehensible methodology for strategy implementation.

We as a Club would urge the FA to suspend any changes immediately until all clubs have been consulted and outcomes can be achieved that support the majority, not the minority, in terms of the competition’s participants.

SALFORD CITY STATEMENT:

Following yesterday’s surprise announcement about changes to the FA Cup effective from the 2024-25 season, we wish to express our concerns about the lack of consultation with the EFL by the Football Association and the Premier League.

The FA Cup is the world’s greatest cup competition and we understand that there may be times where formats and rules need to be changed for the growth and development of the competition to maintain its position in this regard.

However with over 700 teams taking part in the 2023-24 competition in total, and 124 from the First Round onwards with 32 teams from the Qualifying Rounds, there are a significant number of clubs involved that should have a say on fundamental changes.

In light of recent events in football that has prompted the introduction of the Football Governance Bill and an independent regulator, this is a very concerning decision that appears to benefit only the top 2.7% of clubs involved in the competition, and is further evidence of the widening chasm that is developing in our game.

We would urge the Football Association to re-consider their decision and invite the EFL and its clubs to have further discussions on the matter.

FA further anger fans, clubs and managers after responding to backlash on FA Cup changes

KETTERING TOWN STATEMENT:

As the leading goal scorers in the Emirates FA Cup, KTFC feel strongly that it is necessary to speak out against the plans to scrap replays from the competition.

The FA Cup has been fundamental part of english football history and its roots are firmly planted in every football team in the country.

Ask any kettering town fan to reminisce about the FA Cup and they will tell you of the games against Bristol Rovers, Blackburn Rovers and Fulham. What they will also tell you about are the games which start with “That night against …”

That night against Lincoln City where Christie headed the winner. That night against Notts County with two goals in a minute. That night against Leeds United when it went to extra time. That night against…

None of these fa nights would have been possible without replays in the biggest domestic competition in the world.

We reject, in the strongest possible way, the decisions to scrap fa replays that so many non-league teams live for and which has the power to save clubs financially.

It is too important.

Irrespective of the financial impact of this decision, we are losing the magic of the FA Cup, its ability to create compelling stories, generational memories and inspire future supporters of the beautiful game.

The FA Cup is one of the reasons why we are fans not customers and why we oppose this decision. Don’t let our brilliant history be taken away from future fans.

SCUNTHORPE UNITED STATEMENT

Scunthorpe United join a number of clubs in sharing their extreme disappointment in the changes made to the format of the FA Cup, which have been made without, seemingly, any consultation outside of the Premier League.

The removal of replays in the competition will not only have a detrimental effect to any lower league or non-league clubs embarking on a cup run, but fundamentally a massive part of the heritage of the competition has been removed.

Our club, like many others, owes its past and future to the FA Cup replays that have now been taken away.

United have had replay experiences over the years, including a third round replay over Portsmouth in 1962-63, which then went to a second replay at Highbury, along with highly-contested replays over Leeds United in 1983-84. Even the FA Cup replay against Worcester City in 2014-15 enabled us to take part in the longest penalty shootout in FA Cup history. Without replays being in force back then, this would not be part of the record books of the once great and illustrious competition.

Scunthorpe United would like to reiterate their condemning of the decision to scrap FA Cup replays, and call on the FA to suspend these changes with immediate effect until a consultation of all stakeholders has taken place. 

As mentioned, the FA further anger fans, clubs and managers after responding to backlash on the controversial FA Cup changes…

@The_Forty_Four: Makes me laugh how teams like Man City can go to a club World Cup for 2 weeks but it’s the end of the world if they have to play in a replay against Accrington Stanley. No backbone from the FA

@SSE_LTFC: You could have typed – “We have listened to your concerns the last 24 but actually no, we haven’t” and left it at that lads.

@SaintsSocialite: Increase the number of FA Cup matches broadcasted? We all know you’ll only put Premier League teams on TV

@SfcAlex__: So Premier League teams can find time to have extra pre-season tours. Increasing matches but can’t for the FA Cup. They have the most money, largest/best academies. You have the stockpile to play a few extra games. Disgrace

@ArgyleMemes: The revenue is important but, you are still taking away fantastic opportunities for small clubs to have fantastic days out. You have been toothless under pressure from a handful of clubs and this statement is as tone deaf as the original one. Hold your hands up, admit the mistake and reverse the decision for the sake of the competition and the wider footballing community.

@ANT_LCFC: Basically in short you don’t care

@jonathan_lara: What a load of crap!!! My heart bleeds for poor little Premier League players who might actually have to play more than once a week while earning £100k+ a week. While in the EFL teams played 7 games over 23 days over December.

@92_jackrich: Reinstate replays or all EFL/Non League sides should boycott. Leave our game alone 👍🏽

@Paul_not_ecfc: Rescind your decision. Clubs are clearly not taken by the change and fans and clubs clearly don’t want the FA Cup messed about in this way.

@wayneshutt: Not good enough! Boycott all FA sponsors until this is reversed.

@jodybevs78: The arrogance beggers belief. 732 teams entered the FA cup last year. No mention of the 550 odd clubs below the national league that are a fundamental part of the ‘greatest cup competition in the world’. Part of the dream died for thousands of players & coaches yesterday.

@SammyTheSnake25: It’s not about the money, it’s about the elation of a small club nicking a draw at home to a giant to take their city, their town, their fan base to a big ground for a day out generations will never forget. That’s what these fanbases are losing.

@ItsSamson2: Assuming your team is even picked for a TV slot that is. Let’s be honest you’ll do what you’ve done in recent years and televise an all premier league tie like you always do. Can’t wait to watch Liverpool Vs Man Utd for the fourth time in a season.

@harry_horton: Premier League clubs can find the time for ‘post-season’ games in Australia and mid-season training camps in the Middle East. But the risk of a February FA Cup replay at Crewe on a Tuesday night because you couldn’t beat them first time round? Too much, apparently.

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