Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and other Premier League managers have previously called for FA Cup replays to be scrapped – a move that would ease the demanding schedule.
The FA are under pressure to limit their schedule due to the expansion of European competitions. The number of teams in the Champions League and Europa League will be increased from 32 to 36 from next season, with sides playing a minimum of 10 games.
The FA have also faced calls for reform from the likes of Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp, who asked for FA Cup replays to be scrapped at the beginning of 2023. The move will be controversial, as replays are a huge money spinner for clubs further down the pyramid.
Replays used to exist in every round of the FA Cup, including the final. Yet the FA have sought to reduce the amount of games in recent years, with fifth-round replays getting the axe in 2018. Deciding ties using extra-time and penalties is now preferred.
The FA are yet to officially announce the move, but it’s believed a decision has already been made. Two-legged Carabao Cup semi-finals are also expected to be consigned to the annals of history. Changes could be implemented in 2025 ahead of a new TV deal.
Yet the fifth round of the FA Cup is set to be played on the weekend again. Since 2019, all fifth round fixtures have taken place during midweek – leading to criticism from fans. The FA’s changes will be welcomed by many Premier League managers, including Klopp.
The German said: “The lifelines for small clubs cannot be massive problems for clubs who play every three days. We cannot solve all the problems by playing more games… How often did it happen that a smaller club came through because of this extra game?
“I know there is money involved and that’s how it is but you have to find solutions. Nobody wants to kill the smaller clubs; they have exactly the same right for existence as all of us.”
FA Cup runs and replays are extremely valuable to clubs further down the pyramid. Last season, fifth-tier Wrexham earnt a replay against second-tier Sheffield United following a 3-3 draw in their third-round clash. Both games were televised and created headlines.