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FA Cup set for biggest shake-up in the competition’s 152-year history, fans aren't happy

FA Cup set for biggest shake-up in the competition’s 152-year history, fans aren't happy

A potential deal with the Premier League could see huge changes to the world's oldest national football competition.

The FA Cup is set to undergo a dramatic shake-up that features scrapping of replays and the final being played on a Premier League weekend.

A report from the Daily Mail suggests the FA are preparing to hand control of the world's oldest national competition to the Premier League; a decision that will no doubt have major consequences.

So what will change and why are they doing it? According to the report, the Premier League will look to sell overseas TV rights for the FA Cup from the 2024/25 season onwards.

This, in effect, will give top-flight clubs control of the domestic calendar.

According to the report, the Premier League are pushing for change due to the expansion of the Champions League, which will feature 10 matches in the group stage from 2024 onwards.

The Premier League's offer includes terms such as the abolition of FA Cup replays; a controversial move that will no doubt upset teams lower down the pyramid who rely on gate receipts and revenue from big away days.

As well as having no replays, early rounds of the competition will also be played in midweek to avoid interference with the league calendar.

Another change that has raised concerns amongst fans is the end of a stand-alone weekend for the FA Cup final at the end of the season.

In fact, the final will be brought forward to a regular weekend of Premier League fixtures, with it likely being held on the penultimate Saturday of the season before a full set of games on the Sunday.

The Premier League would offer an increased payment to the FA which would allow them to further fund grassroots football as a result of the landmark changes.

Here's how fans have reacted to the potential shake-up.

One fan commented: "I love the FA Cup and still think for the lower clubs it's magical but the final being played on a PL weekend is a travesty. I remember waking at 7am as a kid on the day of the final and watching all of the build-up, it was class. Disappointing."

Another wrote: "Scrapping FA Cup replays, moving the early rounds to midweek and playing the final on a regular Premier league weekend is a terrible plan. Any sport that bends to the will of the richest will be a poorer one overall. What are they doing to the world's best cup competition?"

A third said: "Everything in football is up for sale. Not only in England but globally. It’s just a vehicle now for the suits/owners PR, their vanity and to move money around. Only thing they can’t buy is games soul but that’s it. FA & FA Cup is for everyone not the Premier League elite."

Image credit: Getty Images
Image credit: Getty Images

A fourth commented: "The FA Cup is arguably the last remaining bastion of heritage and tradition in English football. Selling the FA Cup to the Premier League for unfettered commercial exploit (at the expense of lower league clubs) would also spell the end of the @FA as a guardian of English football."

A fifth added: "Some lower league clubs earn up-to £1m from replays and provide fans with amazing days out. Non league part time players will have to lose out on money/annual leave playing games on a midweek when it’s not necessary. Killing the FA Cup and killing the game."

Former FA chairman David Bernstein has warned the FA against selling TV rights to the Premier League.

Speaking to The Times, he said: “It is vital the FA maintains complete control of the FA Cup. We have already seen the loss of cup replays and the FA Cup being squeezed, and if the international rights are taken over by the Premier League this will be another sign of the weakening of the competition.

“The FA Cup has suffered because of the success of the Premier League and European competitions — no one can pretend it has the same status as 20 or 30 years ago. Even if it means more money than the FA could get elsewhere, it puts more authority into the hands of the Premier League.

“One of the key issues behind the setting up of an independent regulator is the power of the Premier League and to ensure there is balance, and this would make it even more powerful when it comes to determining fixtures.”

Image credit: Getty
Image credit: Getty

Thoughts on the potential shake-up? Let us know in the comments.

SPORTbible has reached out to the FA for comment.

Featured Image Credit: Getty Images

Topics: FA, FA Cup, Premier League, Fan Reactions