Credit: X

Credit: X

English Football Association have announced drastic changes to the format of the world's oldest club competition, the  FA Cup. The knock-out tournament has been an integral part of club football in England since its inception in 1871, 153 years ago. In the latest developments, the Football Association have decided to make a significant change to the tournament and decided to scrap the first round next season as a part of the six-year agreement with the Premier League. 

The football governing body announced that all rounds of the tournament will be played on weekends from the next term, and the fourth, fifth as well as quarter-final rounds will be held exclusive of Premier League matches. The Football Association announced, “From the first round proper, the competition will be played without replays.” 

“The current format, which has no replays from the fifth round onwards, has been extended throughout the ‘Competition Proper’ in light of changes to the calendar driven by the expanded UEFA competitions. The FA Cup final will now take place on the penultimate weekend of the Premier League season, on an exclusive Saturday with no Premier League fixtures taking place on the same day.”

This new agreement strengthens the FA Cup: Mark Bullingham 

Commenting on the changes, FA chief executive Mark Bullingham said: “The FA Cup is our biggest asset and generates over 60 per cent of our revenue to invest into the game, so it is critical to secure a strong format for the future. This new agreement between the FA and the Premier League strengthens the FA Cup and gives this very special tournament exclusive weekends in an increasingly busy calendar.

He added, “The new schedule ensures the magic of the Cup is protected and enhanced while working for the whole of the English game. The longer summer period also allows a much-needed player break before the start of the next season.  We have also agreed new funding for the grassroots game, disability football, and the women’s and girls’ game. All football begins at the grassroots, and this is recognised by the Premier League with very welcome additional financial support.”