England's FA defends Cup replay scrapping amid criticism

Why many English clubs will feel 'let down' by scrapping of FA Cup replays (1:10)

Nedum Onuoha reacts to the decision to scrap replays in the FA Cup from the 2024-25 season. (1:10)

The Football Association (FA) has defended its decision to scrap replays for the FA Cup from the first round next season, saying they discussed the move with the Premier League and English Football League (EFL). The EFL has denied any involvement in the announcement of the new format.

The FA said the call was made with the intention of strengthening the competition despite having fewer dates available and with player welfare in mind amid an increasingly busy professional football calendar.

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FA Cup replays have been a source of revenue for clubs in the lower leagues of English football, with CEO of advocacy group Fair Game describing calling the FA's new policy "another nail in the coffin for the already crumbling football pyramid," while EFL chief executive Trevor Birch called Thursday's announcement "frustrating and disappointing."

The FA statement said that the EFL was aware of the move.

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

"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 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."

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The FA added that other revenue streams for teams in the lower divisions have been created by the amendments.

"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," it said.

Thursday's statement also said that the FA understood the concerns shared since their initial announcement, and the body intends to share more details with the affected clubs "very shortly."

However, The EFL responded on Friday with a statement of its own, denying any knowledge or involvement in the decision to get rid of replays.

"The agreement which now sees the abolition of replays from the competition format was agreed solely between the Premier League and FA," the EFL said. "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.

"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 added that such decision-making processes highlight the need for systemic reform.

"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."

This season's FA Cup semifinals will take place on the weekend, with holders Manchester City facing Chelsea on Saturday and Coventry City taking on Manchester United on Sunday.