Premier League clubs are meeting to discuss potential significant changes to the FA Cup and the League Cup.
As reported by the Times, the Premier League clubs are scheduled to meet on Wednesday for a Premier League shareholder’s meeting. They will take the opportunity to discuss the changes to the two cup competitions as part of a so-called ‘New Deal for Football’.
The changes being mooted include scrapping third and fourth round replay in the FA cup and in the league cup allowing the six sides in European competitions to field their under 21 sides or not take part at all.
These changes are designed to cut fixture congestion. While benefiting the Premiership clubs, especially those in Europe, it would also reduce the number of games the Football League sides have to play, with 12 replays happening in just the second round of last season’s competition.
The article suggests that Football League clubs could be receptive to the changes, especially the dropping of replays due to the increased chance of a lower league team beating top-flight opposition on penalties, as what happened to United against Middlesbrough last season.
Although the potential financial loss of not hosting replays for lower league opposition doesn’t appear to have been mentioned.
Any changes are not expected to be made at the meeting, but if an agreement is found between the clubs and the FA, the changes are expected to be in force for the start of the 2024/25 season.
These changes should not change too much to the prestige of the FA cup; it remains to be seen what impact they could have if implemented on the League Cup or Carabao Cup as it is currently known.
The top six Premiership sides are a big draw, and with them either not in the competition or fielding an under-21 squad, it may reduce the already small stature the cup has.
Counteractively it could rejuvenate the competition, with the last team to win the League Cup not from the so-called Premiership ‘big six being Swansea back in 2013. It could open up opportunities for other clubs to fight for silverware.
Other items on the agenda for the shareholder’s meeting are the reduction of parachute payments and the Premier League’s funding of the lower leagues.
These changes certainly feel like they will be implemented, signalling the end of FA Cup replays for Premiership clubs.