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Debate Hots up About Replays in FA Cup

7th February 2020

A big debate has opened up in football about whether replays should be scrapped in the competition to reduce the number of games in the season.

From the fifth round onwards, matches are settled on the day. If it is a draw after 90 minutes, a period of 30 minutes of extra-time is played. The game is then settled on penalties if it is still a tie at that point.

Due to the congestion of fixtures in their calendar, some Premier League clubs have voiced their wish for FA Cup games to reach a conclusion in one game. The FA have yet to comment on whether they plan to make any changes to the format of the tournament, which is the oldest cup competition in the world.

Klopp and Guardiola Pushing for Fewer Games

Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola and Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp have been two of the most high-profile managers against FA Cup replays. The latter was particularly critical of the format after his side drew 2-2 with Shrewsbury in the fourth round this year.


Klopp was annoyed that the replay for that game was scheduled to take place during Liverpool’s allocated winter break. He has vowed not to include any of his senior players for that game and instead will give his youth team the opportunity to represent the club.

It has been a busy season for Liverpool so far. They travelled across to Qatar in December to feature in the Club World Cup. Klopp will also be keen for his players not to take their eye off the prize in the Premier League where they are now 1/100 in the football betting for the title.

City boss Guardiola has even gone as far as saying one of the two cup competitions in England should go. All other major European countries have just one cup tournament running alongside the league. Those comments are surprising given that Manchester City have won the EFL Cup in three of the last four seasons.

BBC and BT Sport presenter Gary Lineker has also expressed his opinion on this debate, going along with the appeal for replays to be scrapped. 

Lower League Clubs Reliant on FA Cup Revenue 

Clubs further down the pyramid will argue that the replays they earn to face Premier League clubs away from home are instrumental to their survival.

Shrewsbury will most likely pick up their biggest receipt of the season when they take on the European champions at Anfield. Rochdale got the opportunity to face Newcastle for a second time in the third round after their 1-1 draw at Spotland.

With so many clubs struggling to break even in the lower reaches of the Football League, and with the fear of being the next club to fold like Bury did, they will hope that the format of the FA Cup continues as it is. Fans of those lower league clubs, who follow their team up and down the country, also get the reward of travelling to a Premier League ground.

Time will tell if the managers of the big clubs in the tournament will get their way or if the FA refuse to budge and ignore the appeals.

Posted by Mark at 7:13pm

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