FA Cup agrees to scrap replays due to ‘expanded’ Champions League

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Sportem
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FA Cup replays have been scrapped as part of a new agreement between the Football Association and Premier League that comes amid the introduction of the new-look Champions League from next season.

Replays had already been scrapped from the fifth round onwards but have now been ditched altogether from the first round proper, a joint statement from the FA and Premier League said.

The FA said the move had been made in agreement with the Premier League and “in light of changes to the calendar driven by the expanded Uefa competitions”.

The Champions League will become a 36-team competition next season with a new-look league format replacing the previous group stages.

Premier League teams who are involved will now play eight rounds of games to qualify for the knockout stages, an increase on the previous six.

The FA Cup final will now be staged on the penultimate weekend of the Premier League season, rather than after, while all rounds will be played at the weekend. The fifth round of the FA Cup has been placed in midweek in the last five seasons.

The changes come as part of a new agreement between the FA and Premier League that will see the top flight put forward an extra £33m to grassroots football, on top of the £100m it says it already provides.

“The Premier League is proud of the investment it provides to all levels of the game and this new agreement with the FA will see us enhance our support into grassroots football,” the Premier League’s chief executive Richard Masters said.

The FA Cup final will now be staged on the penultimate weekend of the Premier League season, rather than after, while all rounds will be played at the weekend (The FA/Getty)

“This will improve facilities for communities and lower league clubs across the country, through the Football Foundation and Premier League Stadium Fund.

“Throughout our discussions, both parties have been committed to enhancing the scheduling of the FA Cup, a hugely important domestic competition with a storied history.”

The chief executive of the FA, Mark Bullingham, said: “The 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 FA Cup and gives this very special tournament exclusive weekends in an increasingly busy calendar.

“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.

“We have also agreed new funding for the grassroots game, disability football and the women’s and girls’ game. All football begins at the grassroots, and this is recognised by the Premier League with very welcome additional financial support.”

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