FA Cup Replays to Be Scrapped from First Round in 2024-25 Season

The Football Association (FA) has announced significant changes to the Emirates FA Cup for the upcoming 2024-25 competition. One notable adjustment is the elimination of FA Cup replays from the first round onwards.

According to BBC reports, all rounds of the prestigious tournament will now be played on weekends, including the fifth round, which previously took place during midweek fixtures for the past five seasons.

These changes stem from a new six-year agreement between the FA and the Premier League. As part of this agreement, the Premier League has also removed its mid-season break from the calendar.

Matches will commence in mid-August following a consecutive three-week summer break instead of a shorter winter rest period. This decision is based on expert advice from medical and technical departments.

The decision to eliminate replays from an earlier stage in the FA Cup is attributed to changes in the calendar driven by expanded UEFA competitions. UEFA introduced the Europa Conference League in 2021, and the number of teams in the Champions League group stage will increase from 32 to 36 next season. Additionally, FIFA has announced an expanded 32-team Club World Cup for 2025.

However, replays will still be part of the FA Cup qualifying rounds, where teams from the fifth to the 10th tiers of English football compete for 32 spots in the first round.

The FA Cup’s first round sees professional teams from League One and League Two enter, with Championship and Premier League teams joining from the third round.

Other notable changes include the fourth and fifth rounds, as well as the quarter-finals, being played without clashing with any Premier League fixtures for the first time. The fourth round will be played in an extended window from Friday to Wednesday.

Moreover, the FA Cup final has been rescheduled to the penultimate weekend of the Premier League season. It will take place on a Saturday, independently of any Premier League matches, with the Friday before the final dedicated to the event’s build-up.

The agreement between the FA and the Premier League also entails an increase in funding to grassroots football, with an additional £33 million being provided.

FA chief executive Mark Bullingham expressed excitement about the strengthened FA Cup and the increased support for grassroots football, emphasizing the tournament’s significance and its exclusive weekends in an increasingly busy calendar.


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