Premier League clubs want FA Cup third and fourth rounds moved to midweek and replays abolished amid row over 2020-21 calendar
- Stand-off developing between Premier League and FA over 2020-21 fixtures
- Top-flight clubs want FA Cup replays abolished and matches moved to midweek
- Premier League sides will discuss next season’s fixture list on Thursday
As revealed by Sportsmail last month, a stand-off is developing between the Premier League and the FA over the number of weekend fixture slots they can use next season, which is expected to be shortened due to this season over-running.
Top-flight clubs will discuss next season’s fixture list on Thursday, with two alternative start dates of August 29 and September 12 under consideration, although both would leave them short of the 34 weekends required to complete a campaign.
Premier League clubs want FA Cup’s third and fourth rounds to be midweek without replays
As a result the Premier League are expected to demand that FA Cup replays are abolished from the third round onwards — the point at which the top two tiers enter the competition.
The FA are prepared to consider scrapping replays, but will fight to protect third and fourth-round weekend.
Weekend kick-offs are far more valuable to broadcasters and commercial partners, and are particularly important to overseas media organisations who have paid £800million for FA Cup TV rights until 2024.
The FA will fight to protect third and fourth-round weekend on the road to Wembley next year
In addition to their contractual obligations to broadcasters, the FA will argue that they have already shown considerable flexibility by moving the FA Cup fifth round to a midweek slot last season, and will do so again by agreeing to remove the winter break after just one year.
The FA have worked closely with the Premier League over the last few months to help facilitate the resumption of the domestic season, but the stand-off over midweek fixtures will be difficult to resolve.
One possible solution is for the Premier League to offer compensation to the FA for passing up one or two of the weekends that they use in the current format.
Manchester City lifted the FA Cup last season with this season’s competition still to conclude