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  2. The talk of Fixture Congestion in English football, most notably in the Premier League, has led to discussions about how the issue could resolve. This has seen the Winter Break come in to play for the first time this season as it’s been used for many seasons in other European leagues. It has also been spoken about that FA Cup Replays should be scrapped as well as the League Cup competition all together. But now, UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin has had his say by claiming it would be better for everyone if the English FA scrapped the League Cup. France have already agreed to scrapping their League Cup as from next season which might put pressure on England to follow suit. The whole point behind scrapping the League Cup is too “Help reduce fixtures and prevent congestion”. But, look at the bigger picture which is the fact that UEFA want to expand the Champions League. When you consider this proposal of an expanded Champions League and scrapping of the League Cup, it only benefits the bigger clubs in England. There is already a huge divide within English Football between the Premier League and the EFL so this would just add to the division. UEFA are also looking at the option of having a summer competition. Some of those teams in talks with joining the tournament, are the same teams who are the ones that believe the footballing calendar is already congested. But, rather than reject the proposal of a expanded Champions League or a Summer European club competition, the Premier League and “Elite” teams in the Premier League would rather see competitions like the League Cup scrapped. Money talks in football and that can surely be the only factor driving this. Rather than scrapping the League Cup, just have those who are participating in European competitions exempt from the League Cup. That way, the tournament will have back that competitive edge it so desperately needs after years of negativity resulting in the tournament being referred to as the Mickey Mouse Cup. Competiveness would definitely be brought back by this because of the end result that the winner would have European Football the following season which in more ways than one would be beneficial to many teams lower down. It would also mean that the competition is guaranteed a new winner every season due to entry to European competitions. In cases like these with UEFA looking to interfere with the English game and thinking of new competitions as well as expanding an already existing tournament in the Champions League, are we growing ever closer to the possibility of a European Super League? The “Big Dogs” that play European football are the only ones being considered by this. Those teams lower down are losing out because of the actions from those higher up which are pandering to the “Elite”. There is a way of adapting to scenarios without completely ridding of a competition. Whether it’s received negativity or not, the fact remains that the League Cup is still part of English Football Tradition. Share your thoughts about this feature article on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  3. We all know all about the magic of the FA Cup. The fact that you could have a Non-League team come face to face with one of the Premier League Big Boys. A David and Goliath situation. Giant killings have been a theme of the tournament and it’s what makes it so special to each fan. But recently, there has been talks of scrapping replays within the Cup. It’s fair to say that the talks have receive both negative and positive feedback. But should the Cup really abandon replays? Those who have wish for the Cup to abolish replays have come up with some suggestions to adapt the Cup into life without replays. Such ideas have been... - If, after 90 mins, the scores are level, the match should go straight to a penalty shootout. As is the case in the Carabao Cup - Minnows to play at home when they face a Premier League team Minnows being at home could guarantee a sellout crowd, it could be beneficial to the club by having such a high profile club visit the stadium and could also give them the advantage needed to progress to the next round. But what if it doesn’t happen as it’s supposed to? Replays could be financially beneficial to lower league clubs. We’ve seen it in recent times where a club from League One or Two or even as far down as Non-League where clubs have found themselves struggling financially. Some have even faced winding up orders, some even liquidated. Simply because they could not afford the money needed to keep them afloat. FA Cup replays could well stabalise a club and help them move forward. Granted, rather than a replay and being able to go straight to penalties might give a minnow the chance to get through to the next round which would be huge in terms of prize money. But, that is not a guarantee. Where as, getting a replay guarantees them an income and possibly the chance to earn extra based on TV Coverage. The minnows being at home almost certainly guarantees a bumper crowd especially if the likes of Liverpool or Man City come calling. However, it could be a stadium with a max capacity of 5,000, which yes would be good for the club to sell out, but had if there was a replay you have the chance to visit Anfield or the Etihad where you could be taking more than 3x the amount you’d have at home. Imagine the finances behind those ticket sales. It comes as no surprise that it’s mostly those with associations to the “elite” clubs in England that have called for this rule change to be applied, based on fixture congestion. But no body seems to bat an eye lid when it comes to Non-League clubs starting there season early in FA Cup qualifications and then to fit in a congested fixture list of their own, despite with in some cases not every player is full time. Some of the clubs that appear in the FA Cup and can cause giant killings have players that work outside of football, some have even gone to the match straight from work or vice versa going to work from the match. It’s not just the fact of the money earnt, which in fairness, the bigger clubs aren’t one bit concerned about as much as a club from the lower tiers would benefit hugely from. But when you take into consideration that a club from a lower tier could take a big club to a replay and possibly experience playing at a Premier League ground, something many would have dreamed about and the fans would love to see. That’s what the FA Cup is all about, that’s the magic. Taking away replays would all but kill the competition. The Carabao Cup is already seen by most fans and teams alike as a nothing tournament until the Semi Final, so taking away replays and adapting a format in the FA Cup similar to that of the Carabao Cup would transform it into another nonsense Cup that clubs won’t want to compete for. Then all that magic will disappear. Share your thoughts about this feature article on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  4. The Premier League introduced VAR for the first time this season but it hasn’t been without controversy. During its debut season, it’s received a lot of negative feedback, there has been social media takes on VAR which has prompted groups to form against the technology and use #VAROUT. Football Law Makers have already stated that the use of VAR within the Premier League is not being used correctly and should only be used for clear and obvious decisions, not the nit picking offside decisions we have seen that has caused most of the outrage to form against. When you look at some of the decisions it’s not hard to see why people want to see the end of it already, there has been offside decisions against someone for having an armpit in an offside position, a heel in an offside position. We’re talking millimetres offside which wouldn’t be visible to the Naked eye in real time. It won’t be long till we are seeing someone called offside for having a hair or even nose in an offside position. Just last week, there was a decision made by VAR in the game between Sheffield United and West Ham. Sheffield United were leading the game 1-0 when in the 90th minute Robert Snodgrass grabbed what looked like being the equaliser for the hammers but for VAR to disallow the goal for a handball against Declan Rice in the build up to the goal. But even replays show that the ball was headed onto the arm of Rice and those who seen the replay would agree that there was no stopping this and the handball was totally accidental. Even VAR didn’t get the decision right. Since VAR has been introduced, the linesman has to keep his flag down and let play progress. But say a player is played in behind the defence and he chases the ball and damages his Hamstring or is brought down by the defender and suffer a nasty injury, all that could have been prevented if the linesman flagged for offside. If the decision is clear, that a player is standing offside, the linesman should flag and free kick awarded as happened before VAR. The FA Cup introduced VAR last season and has continued this season, but the technology is only used at Premier League grounds. Which gives an unfair advantage and could determine winners and losers in games. An example of this exact occasion could be seen during the Chelsea v Nottingham Forest game, where Forest were denied a goal because of an arm being offside and VAR ruling the goal out. But had that been at the City Ground, the goal might have stood and been a completely different game because VAR wouldn’t have been in operation. A lower tiered club could benefit financially from a replay but with VAR decisions not at their ground, it gives an unfair advantage. But, VAR is not all bad. Believe it or not, VAR has some good points to it’s game. Take for example the 2018 World Cup. VAR was used the way it should have been, yes the games were slowed down but the decisions were correct and on the biggest stage of them all, it saw many teams benefit from vital decisions. The game in the 3rd round of the FA Cup between Derby and Crystal Palace, the referee used it the way it was designed to be handled. After an altercation between Huddles tone and Milovjevic, the referee awarded both players a yellow card. But the referee was informed of the altercation by those in charge of VAR. Rather than listen to what they had to say, like most referees have this season, he went over to the monitor and reviewed the situation himself which resulted in Palace’s Milovjevic being sent off. VAR can be included in the game, but there is a lot to be improved with the technology if it is too succeed and continue to be a part of our game. It might slow the game down, it might take a while for the referees to get the decisions right but in time the process will be speeded up. All that needs to change is use the technology the way it was designed, that is for clear and obvious errors and stop nit picking at tiny little details. The referee should also take charge more, review the situation himself and make the call based on what he has seen rather than listen to those in the VAR room and trust their judgement. Until the main issues are addressed, fans and pundits alike will continue to push VAR out. Share your thoughts about this feature article on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
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