EFL clubs rail against ‘disgraceful’ FA Cup changes

Matty Lench arms wide in the FA Cup for Slough Town. Photo: Neil Graham.
Matty Lench arms wide in the FA Cup for Slough Town. Photo: Neil Graham.

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On Thursday morning, the Football Association (FA)  announced a series of measures in conjunction with the Premier League aimed at strengthening the FA Cup over the next six seasons.

By Thursday evening, clubs from across the EFL had released statements calling the changes – which include the removal of replays from the First Round onwards – ‘disgraceful’, ‘dismayed’ and ‘disappointing’.

Clubs releasing statements include Tranmere Rovers, Accrington Stanley, Grimsby Town and Peterborough United – who could be a Championship side next season.

A common theme in all statements was a lack of consultation and communication. Peterborough’s statement said: “Prior to the release of today’s statement from the FA there had been no recent communication nor consultation with EFL clubs, National League clubs or grassroots clubs who value the competition as a key source of income as well as an opportunity to create lifelong experiences for supporters. The Club believe that the decisions made appear to have placed no importance of the essence of the Emirates FA Cup, in that the competition is famed worldwide as a platform which creates moments of magic that transcend generations.”

Tranmere’s statement said: “We condemn the changes wholeheartedly and urge The FA to suspend them immediately until all stakeholders in the game are properly consulted.”

The FA’s plan involved the removal of replays from the First Round Proper onwards in exchange for exclusive FA Cup weekends with no Premier League football and a return to a ‘traditional’ FA Cup Final weekend plus an extra £33 million to the Football Foundation and Premier League Stadium Fund.

Slough Town boss Scott Davies, who’s side took Grimsby to a replay this summer said on Twitter: “Getting hammered (7-2) in the replay at Grimsby was a highlight of our season, regardless of the result. We had two incredible days on the road, our fans in great voice and some of the lads playing in the biggest games of their lives thus far. Memories created…”

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