Are FA Cup replays still needed?

23 Feb

The FA Cup was first held way back in 1871-72. I don’t know about you, but I certainly was not around then.

We are constantly reminded every time an FA Cup weekend rears its head of the magic of the competition. Of how it is the best cup competition in the world and how the competition is steeped in history.

I am not arguing with any of these things. It’s a great competition and has provided so many moments of football beauty down the years. What I do now think is that slight adjustments need to be made to the format.

I don’t claim to have the answer, but this season replays have been an issue. The weekend just gone saw fourth round replays taking place on fifth round dates. The sides who progressed must really hope they negotiate their fifth round ties without the need for a replay.

It’s an age old debate, but fixture congestion really does affect everyone. From sides like Salisbury City in the Southern Premier who fall behind with league fixtures on the basis of a good cup run. Right through to Manchester City, whose inability to finish ties of in one match, coupled with Europa League run see them with mounting fixture congestion.

Maybe it is time to scrap the replay?

On another note, it is a side who has required no replays who also suffered this weekend. Championship side Burnley’s match with West Ham was moved to Monday night to cater to ESPN’s needs.

This meant Burnley had to postpone two Championship matches to accommodate their cup tie. These games will now be played in April, when Burnley have eight league matches scheduled. Probably best that they were knocked out by the Hammers.

The FA Cup is everything people say it is in terms of being a wonderful competition. It is for that reason that some slight tweaks will keep it as the cherished competition that it is- and not as a means for complaining about fixture back logs.

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