FA Cup replays scrapped after Premier League deal as EFL seeks compensation for clubs

The current FA Cup format allows replays up to and including in the fourth round (Getty Images)
The current FA Cup format allows replays up to and including in the fourth round (Getty Images)

FA Cup replays will be scrapped from the first round onwards from next season after a new financial deal was agreed between the Football Association (FA) and the Premier League.

The current format sees no replays from the fifth round onwards, but that has now been extended to include all of the ‘competition proper’ ready for the start of the 2024/25 edition.

The move comes as part of a new six-year deal between the FA and the Premier League, and against the backdrop of expansions to both the UEFA Champions League and FIFA Club World Cup from next season.

The FA and Premier League say the move, which includes restricting all ‘competition proper’ rounds to weekend fixtures, will “strengthen” the FA Cup as a competition.

These changes will be reassessed in six years’ time, when the newly-agreed deal expires.

The agreement also includes an updated date for the FA Cup final from next season, with the showpiece fixture now set to take place on the penultimate weekend of the Premier League campaign on an “exclusive Saturday”, with no Premier League fixtures taking place on the same day.

In addition, the Premier League has pledged up to an additional £33million of funding for grassroots football in England, on top of the £100m it already invests in wider football communities each season.

Mark Bullingham, chief executive of the FA, 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.

“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.”

The Premier League’s chief executive, Richard Masters, added: “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.

“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 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.”

However, the move was met by disappointment from the EFL, whose chief executive Trevor Birch said they would be seeking compensation for clubs.

“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,” Birch said.

"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."