Soccer

FA Cup changes confirmed as Carabao Cup also undergoes revamp

FA Cup replays have been scrapped for next season to make room in the congested fixture schedule following the coronavirus pandemic.

With the 2020/21 campaign set to kick-off later than usual, organisers were forced to take drastic action to alleviate the pressure on clubs across the board.

The prize money in the competition has been reduced as a result too though to similar levels of two years ago, with the winners receiving £1.8m, down from £3.6m last season.

Clubs lower down the food chain are likely to be hit harder by the news as they often rely on income generated from replays to help with running costs.

The FA said in a statement: "In order to assist in easing pressure on the football schedule, there will be no replays for the 2020-21 season.

"After two seasons of record levels of prize funds, the Emirates FA Cup prize fund has returned back in line with 2017-18 levels due to the financial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic."

Similar changes are being made in the Carabao Cup as the EFL abolished two-leg semi-finals in favour of a one-off tie.

The earlier rounds of the competition are also going to be played out on four out of five consecutive weeks in September.

The first matches are scheduled for September 5, with the next three rounds then running week-by-week from the 15th.

That means the majority of top-flight clubs will play a Carabao Cup tie in midweek following the Premier League curtain raiser on September 12.

All divisions in the Football League are due to start on the same day, with the EFL set to release fixtures for the new season next Friday, August 21.

The Premier League have confirmed that they will release their fixtures for the 2020/21 campaign by the same date, with the final day due to be held on 23 May 2021.

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