FA Cup replays are set to be scrapped in a handful of one-off ties this season in a bid to ease the congestion in games caused by the Queen’s death.
Premier League clubs wanted all third and fourth round replays dropped after 13 high-profile games were postponed over the past two weekends, but the FA are determined to keep them if possible and will agree to a handful of draws instead to make -off games if necessary, solving the problem on a case-by-case basis.
FA Cup replays account for around 20 per cent of the competition’s £1billion TV deal each season, so the board are understandably keen to keep them to avoid rebates to broadcasters.
Rather than abolish all replays, the FA will make individual draw decisions after December’s second round draw, with those involving teams playing in Europe likely limited to 90 minutes.
Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal have already had two games postponed, while Tottenham and West Ham have had one canceled.
The FA have shown considerable flexibility over replays in recent years, agreeing to ditch them all last season to ease the congestion caused by the pandemic.
However, there is a determination at Wembley to fight to retain replays for years to come, despite the Premier League’s desire to drop them altogether when expanded Champions League competition begins in 2024.
The FA are understood to already have some foreign television rights for the period 2024-2027 as the third and fourth rounds will feature reruns.