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.