Abandoning FA Cup replays demonstrates the FA’s lack of strength – the sole victors are the complaining billionaire proprietors.

The Football Association recently announced that all FA Cup replays will be scrapped starting next season. While this decision may have been expected, it is still disheartening to see a longstanding tradition come to an end. This move, driven by the demands of larger clubs, raises concerns about the impact on smaller teams and communities within English football.

Format Changes and Debate

Replays in the FA Cup had already been removed from the fifth round onwards, and the latest decision extends this to all rounds. This change was part of a broader set of alterations to the competition format, including playing all rounds on weekends and exclusive weekends for later stages. While the FA argued that these changes were necessary to enhance the competition, many critics have voiced concerns about the negative effects on smaller clubs.

Historical Significance of Replays

FA Cup replays have been a crucial part of the tournament’s history, providing memorable moments and financial opportunities for underdog teams. Iconic goals like Ronnie Radford’s strike for Hereford against Newcastle in 1972 or Ryan Giggs’ wonder-goal for Manchester United against Arsenal in 1999 would not have been possible without replays. These games have also offered smaller clubs a lifeline, with valuable revenue from TV and gate receipts helping them survive and thrive.

Impact on Smaller Clubs

The decision to scrap FA Cup replays has raised concerns about the financial and sporting impact on smaller clubs. Teams like Exeter City and Cray Valley Paper Mills have benefited from earning replays against bigger opponents, providing much-needed funds to sustain their operations. The move to redirect money to grassroots football, while commendable, may not fully compensate for the loss of revenue and opportunities for smaller clubs.

Controversy and Lack of Consultation

The announcement to eliminate FA Cup replays has sparked controversy, particularly regarding the lack of consultation with lower-league clubs. Reports suggest that the EFL was not properly consulted on this decision, signaling a disregard for the interests of smaller teams. The Premier League’s influence on the FA’s decision-making process has also come under scrutiny, raising questions about the balance of power in English football.


While the removal of FA Cup replays may be seen as a necessary change in light of evolving competition formats, it underscores the growing influence of big clubs on football governance. The decision to prioritize elite teams over the traditions and opportunities of smaller clubs is a troubling trend in modern football. As the game continues to evolve, it is crucial to consider the long-term implications of such decisions on the diversity and sustainability of English football.

David Richard

Hello, I am David. I have worked in several sports magazines specializing in football, and I have a great love for this sport and a passion for following itI will do my best to bring you the latest news.