During this campaign, we have heard complaints from top flight clubs about fixture congestion. As a result of this, the FA are considering numerous ways that could trim the schedule of Premier League sides. An example of this is the idea to scrap FA Cup replays.
This will be positive news for certain Premier League clubs.
Most notably, this is the case with Manchester City. The club are said to be “furious” as they were forced to play against Chelsea in the FA Cup fifth round, just 3 days before their vital Champions League first leg fixture against Dynamo Kiev.
Similarly to other clubs, City feel that the congestion of fixtures, this season especially, has been a factor into their problems on the injury front.
On top of this, Liverpool manager, Jurgen Klopp, has struggled to come to terms with the schedule in English football. The manager stated that “too many games” harms the English national team and he believes that other nations benefit from a winter break.
The FA have related beliefs to Klopp. FA officials say that the set up of fixtures in recent years has had a negative effect on the English players in the Premier League, which leaves them tired when it comes to major tournaments.
One manager from the Premier League who does not agree with the idea of scrapping cup replays is Arsene Wenger. The Arsenal manager has had his say on the matter when he stated that we should “respect” the FA Cup and “keep it as it is”:
— BT Sport Football (@btsportfootball) February 19, 2016
I do agree that introducing a winter break would inevitably decrease the intensity of fixtures. But despite this, I do not believe the FA should introduce a winter break.
The festive fixtures are integrated into the footballing calendar and they would be sorely missed if the FA decided to introduce a winter break.
The boxing day fixtures are arguably the most highly anticipated set of games throughout the season. It is one of the first games football fans look for when the upcoming seasons fixtures are released prior to the campaign getting underway.
The news about the FA considering to scrap FA Cup replays will not please football league sides. This is due to the fact they are less likely to receive the big pay day, which comes with playing a top Premier League side away from home. This has been widely renowned to give a huge boost to their finances, which could go onto to completely turn around their financial year, from a loss to a profit.
League 1 strugglers, Shrewsbury Town, come up against Manchester United tonight. Their manager, Micky Mellon, has given his own opinion on the debate:
Replays keep clubs afloat. I don’t know many clubs at this level making money. Without them, we could lose clubs. But to get that extra money in will only help us improve our football club.”
My own opinion on the matter is that I believe the FA should look at different ways to trim fixtures rather than to scrap cup replays.
It would take some of the magic away from a competition, which is one of the most recognizable and respected in world football. In recent years, the FA Cup has been hit with managers who do not fully respect the size of the competition, as they play inexperienced academy products, who stand in for their rested stars.
It is important that the FA manage to rekindle the magic of the FA Cup with the Premier League clubs.
A way in which they could do this is by reforming the competition so that the winner of the FA Cup would earn a Champions League place instead of the team finishing in fourth place.
This would hopefully mean that the cup would mean a lot more to top division clubs. Therefore, this should mean managers will take the competition more seriously, with the opportunity to ply their trade against the elite in Europe looming over them.
The FA Cup is the biggest and most historic competition in the English game. If the FA are looking to find ways to trim the fixture schedule, I would personally recommend they do so by leaving the FA Cup as it is.
The competition has been made special by all of the Roy of the Rovers stories we have seen. With lower division sides achieving the impossible to beat some of the best sides in the country.
This was clear on the 24th of January 2015, the day of the Fourth round of the FA Cup.
This was a day which will go down in history as one of the greatest days in FA Cup history. The magic of the cup was as evident as ever, when underdogs Bradford City and Middlesbrough went onto beat Premier League high flyers Chelsea and Manchester City respectively.
When we are talking about the FA Cup, how can we forget to mention that goal.
Which was scored by Ryan Giggs against Arsenal in the FA Cup semi-final replay from 1999.
When you look back at the most historic memories of the FA Cup, you become aware that it would never be the same again if the FA scrapped FA Cup replays.