FA Cup replays in the third and fourth rounds are set to be scrapped, reports claim. Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp will be pleased by the development but football fans in general will be angered that a tradition of the competition will be no more.
Replays used to exist in every round of the FA Cup, including the final. They have gradually been removed in reverse order, with the fifth round losing replays from the 2017/18 season.
The 2020/21 and 2021/22 campaigns saw replays scrapped altogether due to the COVID-19 pandemic tightening the football schedule. They returned the following season but their days may be numbered.
The BBC claims replays in the third and fourth rounds are set to cease, likely to commence from the 2025/26 season. That means teams in the Premier League and Championship will no longer face replays as they don’t enter the competition until the third round.
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It is reported that changes are set to be made due to the pressure on the domestic calendar. The Champions League and Europa League will expand next season, with 36 clubs entering instead of the usual 32.
The news will be received well by Klopp, who has often called for replays to be stopped. Asked if he would support such a decision, Klopp said in January: “Yeah, as always. We have to find other solutions. The lifeline for smaller clubs cannot be problems for the clubs that play every three days.
“There must be other solutions, and how often did it happen that a smaller club came through because of this extra game? There’s money involved, I understand that, and nobody wants to kill the smaller clubs, they have the same right to exist as all of us.
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“But we cannot solve all the problems by playing more games – that’s not possible and that’s why I would be in favour of that, but I’ve said so many things in the last seven-and-a-half years and not many have happened.”
Matches will instead be decided on the day with extra time and penalties, with the fifth round to return to a weekend slot. The news may not go down well with many football fans, though.
Replays are a tradition of the world’s oldest cup competition and can have a big boost to a team’s finances. Replays are set to remain for every round before the big clubs enter in the third round.
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