Premier League dates suggest FA Cup and League Cup replays will be scrapped

22 December 2023 0 By Total Football News
Grimsby celebrate Danilo Orsi's strikeLeague Two strugglers Grimsby beat Championship high-flyers Luton Town, who are now in the Premier League, in a FA Cup fourth-round replay last season

FA Cup replays from the third round onwards and two-legged EFL Cup semi-finals could be scrapped after the Premier League released its fixture dates for the 2024-25 season.

The top-flight season will start on 17 August and end on 25 May.

The schedule features four weekend rounds and that - coupled with the squeezing of the overall calendar - leaves just six midweeks across the entire season with no Premier League or European matchdays scheduled.

Given the EFL Cup needs three midweeks to get from the third round to the last four, there appears to be no room for semi-finals to be played as two-legged ties, as has been the case since the tournament's inception in 1961.

And the same is also true of FA Cup replays, although BBC Sport has previously been told in the event of a change, the fifth round of the competition would be restored to a weekend date, having been switched to a midweek date in recent season.

The FA declined to comment on possible FA Cup changes, while it is understood the format of the EFL Cup remains under discussion.

The overall European club calendar is being squeezed due to the expansion of the Champions League and Europa League, and Uefa's desire for the Europa League and Europa Conference League to each have one 'exclusive' midweek when no other competitions are played.

The conclusion to the season will also be followed swiftly by the expanded 32-team Club World Cup, starting on 15 June 2024.

In January, leading figures in English football met to discuss proposals from top-flight clubs to restructure aspects of the domestic game - including making significant changes to the FA Cup and League Cup.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp said in response that he would be in favour of scrapping FA Cup replays and said "other solutions" must be found to support smaller clubs financially.

Lower-league clubs have expressed concerns that removing replays will deny them a chance of money-spinning game which could boost their finances.

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