FA Cup replays scrapped to ease Premier League fixture chaos next season

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FA Cup replays will be scrapped next season to try and ease Premier League fixture chaos.

Premier League chiefs have finally confirmed the 2020/21 campaign will start on September 12 and finish on May 23. The EFL will also start on September 12, finishing on May 9.

But trying to squeeze all the fixtures in will have a huge knock-on effect for the two domestic cup competitions, the FA Cup and Carabao Cup.

The Football Association have agreed to scrap ALL replays for one season only even though the third and fourth round replays are often highly lucrative for lower division clubs as well as often providing big upsets.

But there is a potential row brewing with the EFL as it is understood that top clubs have got major concerns about the Carabao Cup.

Premier League teams in the Champions League and Europa League have been threatening to pull out of the Carabao Cup if they cannot field under-23s teams in the competition next season.

They insist that there is simply not enough room in the fixture calendar for their senior teams to play European games and the Carabao Cup.

There was a warning sign last season when Liverpool fielded a largely under-23s team in the Carabao Cup at Aston Villa and lost 5-0 while the first team played in the FIFA Club World Cup in Qatar.

But it is understood the EFL will not give up the competition and any such revolt would cause a major issue over sponsorship and TV rights which would cause a knock-on effect with much of the Carabao Cup revenue helping to fund the football pyramid.

Premier League clubs might have to offer some sort of financial compromise to get the EFL agreement but the fear is that once they allow the Carabao Cup to be changed it may damage the competition for good.

The EFL are likely to fight against any such proposals especially as the recent winners of the League Cup have been big clubs, including Manchester City in each of the past three seasons.

It is understood that further discussions will continue over the next week but the EFL are determined to maintain the competition and not allow it to lose its stature.

The FA have already scrapped replays from the fifth round onwards but this latest development will be on a one-off basis.

The new start date on September 12 is also a potential headache for the likes of Manchester City, Chelsea, Wolves and Manchester United who are still in Europe with the Champions League and Europa League finals on August 23 and 21 respectively.

The vote on the new five substitute rules cannot be made until the Championship play-offs are resolved while some Premier League clubs are also pushing for improvements and clarity on VAR as referees’ boss Mike Riley made a presentation and detailed potential changes for next season with UEFA and FIFA trying to oversee one common set of guidelines.

Clubs are also discussing the potential of using pre-season friendlies in August and at the start of September as test events for get limited numbers of crowds back into stadiums.

The Premier League will also ask the FA not to increase the home grown quota of a maximum of eight players in every squad during their negotiations over Brexit.

They will have another meeting next week and the Premier League have figures which show the homegrown player ratio went up from 30 per cent last season to 35 per cent this season, reaching 40 in one match round to show a significant increase.

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