The FA Cup is poised for the biggest upheaval in the competition’s 152-year history

The FA Cup is about to undergo a dramatic upheaval, with replays scrapped and the final being played over a Premier League weekend.

According to a report in the Daily Mail, the FA are preparing to hand over control of the world’s oldest domestic competition to the Premier League; A decision that will undoubtedly have far-reaching consequences.

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

This effectively gives the top clubs control of the national calendar.

According to the report, the Premier League is pushing for changes due to the expansion of the Champions League, which will include ten group stage games from 2024.

The Premier League offer includes conditions such as the abolition of FA Cup replays; A controversial move that will no doubt anger teams lower down the pyramid who rely on gate receipts and earnings from big away days.

As there are no replays, the first rounds of the competition will also be played during the week to avoid disrupting the league calendar.

Another change that has raised concerns among fans is the end of a standalone weekend for the FA Cup final at the end of the season.

In fact, the final will be brought forward to a regular Premier League weekend and is expected to be played on the penultimate Saturday of the season before a whole host of games are set to take place on Sunday.

The Premier League would offer the FA a higher payment which would allow them to continue funding grassroots football as a result of the game-changing changes.

This is how the fans reacted to the possible upheaval.

One fan commented: “I love the FA Cup and still think it’s magic for the lower clubs but the final, played over a PL weekend, is a travesty. I remember waking up at 7 a.m. as a kid on the day of the final and looking at everything.” The set-up was great. Disappointing.”

Another wrote: “Ditching the FA Cup replays, postponing the opening 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 worse overall. What are they? What makes this the best cup competition in the world?

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

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo 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 full commercial use (at the expense of lower division clubs) would also mean the end.” @FA as keeper of English football.”

A fifth added: “Some lower division clubs are making up to £1million from replays and giving fans fantastic days. Part-time players not playing in the league have to give up money/annual leave if they play during the week if it’s not necessary. “Kill the FA Cup and destroy 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 that the FA retain full control of the FA Cup.” Premier League would be another sign of weakening competition.

“The FA Cup has suffered from the success of the Premier League and European competitions – nobody can claim it has the same status as it did 20 or 30 years ago. Even if it means more money than the FA could get elsewhere, it gives the Premier League more authority.

“One of the key issues in creating an independent regulator is the power of the Premier League and ensuring balance. This would make them even more powerful in setting game plans.”

Photo credit: Getty
Photo credit: Getty

Thoughts on the possible upheaval? Let us know in the comments.

SPORTbible has reached out to the FA for comment.

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