Sports News

FA Cup replays to be scrapped to ease fixture congestion?

FA Cup replays to be scrapped to ease fixture congestion?

Third and fourth-round replays in the 2022-23 FA Cup could supposedly be scrapped in order to avoid a hectic fixture pile-up following Queen Elizabeth II’s death.

The Premier League, EFL and women’s schedules paused at the weekend to pay their respects to Her Majesty, who died at the age of 96 on Thursday afternoon at Balmoral Castle.

Football at grassroots level was also postponed as a mark of respect, but organisers are now scrambling to find new dates for games in an already-packed schedule.

The Queen’s state funeral is confirmed to be taking place at Westminster Abbey on September 19, which has also impacted upcoming Premier League matches due to security concerns.

The Metropolitan Police and officers from other forces will descend upon the capital for the Queen’s funeral, forcing the postponement of Manchester United‘s clash with Leeds United and Liverpool‘s trip to Chelsea.

General view of the players during a minutes silence before the match after the death of Britain's Queen Elizabeth on September 8, 2022© Reuters

Meanwhile, Arsenal‘s Europa League tie with PSV Eindhoven has also been called off, while Brighton & Hove Albion‘s battle with Crystal Palace was already postponed due to a rail strike which has since been cancelled.

In order to combat a fixture pile-up amid the Queen’s funeral and the 2022 World Cup – taking place between November 20 and December 18 – FA Cup replays could be abandoned entirely.

That is according to a report by PA – via The Mirror – which claims that footballing authorities are considering the removal of replays for third and fourth-round fixtures.

The 2020-21 and 2021-22 season also saw such fixtures scrapped due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and a similar approach could be adopted this time around in the wake of the Queen’s death.

Not since the 2017-18 season have fifth-round replays been held in the FA Cup, and the 2015-16 season marked the most recent tournament with return fixtures in the quarter-finals.

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta celebrates with the FA Cup in August 2020© Reuters

The third round of the FA Cup is set to take place on the weekend of January 7, and fourth-round fixtures will commence exactly three weeks later.

Seven of the 10 originally scheduled Premier League fixtures will be going ahead this weekend, but Arsenal’s London derby with Brentford has been moved from a 2pm kickoff to 12pm.

The Gunners are also under pressure to find a new date for their Europa League Group A clash with PSV, which UEFA are insisting must take place before the end of the group stage on November 3.

There has even been talk of Arsenal possibly having to forfeit the match, as was the case with Tottenham Hotspur against Rennes last year during their COVID-19 cluster.

However, Mikel Arteta‘s side are said to be confident of finding a new date for the game and do not expect to have to forfeit the contest before the 2022 World Cup.

ID:494520:1false2false3false:QQ:: from db desktop :LenBod:collect6266:

You may also like

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments