FA Cup Replays Scrapped in Major Format Overhaul for 2024-25 Season

In a significant shake-up to the traditional format of the Emirates FA Cup, replays will be eliminated from the first round onwards in the upcoming 2024-25 competition. This decision marks a pivotal change in the tournament’s structure, aimed at streamlining the calendar and enhancing its appeal amidst an evolving football landscape.

The alteration, part of a new six-year agreement between the Football Association (FA) and the Premier League, aims to align the FA Cup schedule more closely with weekend fixtures, ensuring greater accessibility and continuity for fans and participants alike. Additionally, all rounds of the prestigious cup competition will now be contested on weekends, including the fifth round, which previously took place midweek.

The move to scrap replays from the first round onwards reflects a proactive response to changes in the football calendar driven by expanded UEFA competitions, such as the Europa Conference League and the increased number of teams in the Champions League group stage. While FA Cup qualifying rounds will still feature replays, the elimination of replays in the main tournament stages aims to streamline proceedings and accommodate an increasingly congested fixture list.

Further changes include the removal of the Premier League’s mid-season break and the extension of the summer break to three weeks, based on expert advice from medical and technical departments. These adjustments aim to optimize player welfare and performance amidst the demands of an intensive football schedule.

The FA Cup final, a highlight of the English football calendar, will now take place on a Saturday, independently scheduled from Premier League fixtures to ensure maximum focus and anticipation. Moreover, an extended window for the fourth round, played from Friday to Wednesday, aims to provide greater flexibility and exposure for competing teams.

While these changes have been welcomed as a means to strengthen the FA Cup and enhance grassroots football, some voices within the football community have expressed concerns. Tranmere Rovers vice-chair Nicola Palios criticized the agreement, alleging it favors the interests of elite clubs at the expense of the wider football pyramid. Similarly, the Professional Footballers’ Association emphasized the need for a collective approach to the global fixture calendar, advocating for greater consideration of lower league clubs and domestic competitions.

Kindly share this story: