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FA Cup Replays to be Scrapped from First Round

In the upcoming 2024-25 competition, England’s Football Association (FA) has decided to eliminate FA Cup replays from the first round onwards. According to BBC reports, all rounds of the Emirates FA Cup, including the fifth round traditionally played midweek, will now be scheduled on weekends. These adjustments are part of a new six-year agreement between the FA and the Premier League.

The Premier League has removed its mid-season break from the calendar. Matches will commence in mid-August after a three-week summer break, based on advice from medical and technical experts, rather than a shorter winter rest period.

While the current format of the FA Cup already excludes replays from the fifth round onwards, the FA’s decision to remove them from an earlier stage is influenced by calendar changes driven by the expanded UEFA competitions. The introduction of the Europa Conference League in 2021, an increase in teams in the Champions League group stage to 36 next season, and FIFA’s announcement of a 32-team Club World Cup for 2025 have all played a role in this decision.

Notably, FA Cup qualifying rounds, where teams from the fifth to the 10th tiers of English football vie for 32 spots in the first round, will still feature replays. The competition sees professional teams from League One and League Two entering in the first round, with Championship and Premier League teams joining from the third round.

Furthermore, the fourth and fifth rounds, along with the quarter-finals, will be scheduled without overlapping any Premier League fixtures for the first time, marking a significant change in the competition’s scheduling.

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