FA Cup replays have been abolished as part of a new agreement between the Football Association and the Premier League on the competition’s format and funding.

Here the PA news agency looks at the issue in closer detail.

What has happened?

The FA has agreed to scrap all replays from the first round proper onwards. Replays had already been phased out from the fifth-round stage but will now be ditched completely. The format change will see all fifth-round ties, which have been played in midweek for the last five seasons, revert to weekends while ties in the fourth round, fifth round and quarter-finals will be played exclusively of Premier League ties.

The FA Cup final will be played on the penultimate weekend of Premier League games, but no top-flight matches will be played on the Saturday of that weekend.

The Premier League will provide up to an extra £33million per season to support the pyramid as a result of the agreement, the FA said.

Why has this happened?

The primary driver has been the pressure placed on the domestic calendar by the expansion of UEFA’s club competitions from next season. The new format for the Champions League, for example, features an extra 64 matches next season compared to the current campaign, and spills into January for the first time, a month which had previously been the reserve of domestic football.

But why scrap replays in the first and second rounds, where Premier League teams aren’t involved?

FA sources say that decision has been taken for the sake of consistency in the competition, and to help EFL clubs and those lower down the pyramid resolve their own congestion issues. It is understood the EFL Trophy is another candidate for expansion as Premier League clubs look for further playing opportunities for their young stars, although with talks on a new financial settlement between the Premier League and the EFL having stalled, it is not clear when – or even if – that change will come to pass.

FA sources have also challenged the idea that replays are major revenue earners for lower-league clubs. Of the 19 third and fourth-round replays in the last 10 years where an EFL side was away, 12 had an attendance of over 25,000. Only a very small percentage of first and second-round replays over the same period achieved attendances of over 7,000.

What else has happened?

The mid-season break has been scrapped to allow a mid-August start date for the new Premier League season, which should enable top-flight clubs to ensure all players can get a consecutive three-week break in the summer. The new schedule also allows for the late May Bank Holiday weekend to be ringfenced for the EFL play-offs.

What has the reaction been?

The Football Supporters’ Association has not yet issued any comment on the move, but its survey from last year showed continued strong support for replays, with 69.5 per cent of respondents believing they are an important part of the FA Cup.

Nicola Palios, the vice-chair of League Two side Tranmere, said the FA and the Premier League had reached an agreement “to suit themselves at the expense of the rest of the football pyramid”, and said the new independent regulator would need the power to stop the Premier League “strangling” the lower leagues.

FA chief executive Mark Bullingham said the changes would strengthen the FA Cup while his Premier League counterpart Richard Masters said the changes had been agreed “without compromising the excitement of knockout football”.

The Professional Footballers’ Association chief executive Maheta Molango said the move showed how decisions taken at FIFA and UEFA level had “a knock-on impact which affects clubs, and players, throughout the pyramid”.

“What football needs is a collective approach to a properly thought-out global fixture calendar – not a fight for available dates,” Molango said.

Leicester will definitely not face a points deduction in this season’s Championship over the Premier League charge they face for allegedly breaching top-flight financial rules, the EFL has confirmed.

The EFL said its rules as currently written do not give it the power to apply any points penalty that may be ordered by an independent commission formed under Premier League auspices.

Leicester, who are involved in a three-way automatic promotion battle with Leeds and Ipswich, had sought an interim injunction to prevent any sporting sanction such as a points deduction being applied this season, but that application has been dismissed after the EFL’s confirmation it had no power to apply the penalty in any event.

A legal decision related to the injunction application published on Friday evening shows the Premier League initially sought an expedited process, and that its lawyers wrote to the chair of its independent judicial panel to say it was imperative the whole case – including any appeal – was concluded before the end of the Championship regular season on May 4.

The Premier League letter to its judicial panel came after a letter from EFL chief executive Trevor Birch to his Premier League counterpart Richard Masters, prior to the charge being issued, saying the EFL would “seek to respect” any decision ordering a points penalty and apply it to the Championship standings.

According to the written decision, in the same letter Birch urged the Premier League that, in the event it sought a points deduction in the current season, it should do so urgently to ensure it could be applied before the end of the Championship regular season on May 4.

The legal decision states that the Premier League wrote to the club’s lawyers on March 26 to say it would no longer seek to expedite the proceedings, because the EFL no longer maintained its position that it would seek to apply any points deduction in the Championship.

That means the case is extremely unlikely to be concluded until next season, and that any points penalty will only apply immediately if, by the point the hearing concludes, Leicester are a Premier League club again.

The decision reveals that Leicester had accused the EFL of “conspiring with the Premier League to use unlawful means and to procure or induce a breach of contract by the Premier League”.

The club are understood to remain extremely disappointed with the way they feel the EFL has acted.

The Foxes were charged with breaching the top flight’s profitability and sustainability rules (PSR) on March 21 in relation to the assessment period ending with the 2022-23 season, when they were still a Premier League club.

The club issued “urgent legal proceedings” on March 22 against that charge, and against an EFL transfer embargo.

Earlier this month, Leicester announced a loss of £89.7million for the 2022-23 season.

Everton fans have demanded clarity over a protracted takeover bid which they say has left the club “in limbo”.

The Toffees’ Fan Advisory Board (FAB) has written to current owner Farhad Moshiri, prospective owners 777 Partners and the Premier League seeking answers, with the takeover appearing to have stalled since it was first agreed last September. Fans also want to know what would happen if the deal does not proceed.

“Our club is caught up in an endless swirl of uncertainty. In football terms, it’s like the referee has been sent to the VAR monitor but is stuck there with no sign of sharing a decision so the game can move on,” FAB chair Dave Kelly said.

“Whilst we understand that some of the decisions being considered are complex and we hope that they are subject to the rigour and scrutiny they deserve, supporters, players and this great club of ours are being left in limbo. We’re now asking for some long overdue clarity on how we can all move forward.”

Moshiri has been asked to speak to fans about what would happen if the 777 deal did not receive Premier League approval, whether his deal with 777 is timebound, whether other investors are waiting in the wings and whether he will continue to fund the club until a satisfactory investor is found.

“An interim board, an interim CEO, and an owner in absentia is not good enough for our club which is faced with sporting and financial uncertainty, the ramifications of which will reach far and wide,” the FAB’s letter to Moshiri, seen by the PA news agency, states.

“Your club and its supporters need clarity, vision, and leadership and we urge you to now provide it.”

The FAB’s letter to 777 co-founder Josh Wander urges the American investment firm to engage with supporters, and highlights that the lack of consultation to date is “a source of deep concern”.

“Concerns are being expressed that 777 Partners do not have the capacity, ability, or culture to make our club stable and successful,” the letter states.

“Given these concerns, we would encourage you to attempt to reassure Evertonians worldwide at the earliest opportunity of your vision, strategy, and operational wherewithal to bring Everton Football Club back to its rightful place at the pinnacle of football.”

The letter to Premier League chief executive Richard Masters seeks clarity over whether the league’s rules allow it to reject a takeover bid, or whether deals can only be “held in abeyance” until the necessary paperwork is provided.

“If the latter is the case, is the provision of such documentation time-bound or could this already protracted process drag on indefinitely due to the inability to reject outright?” the FAB asked Masters.

The FAB requested responses from all three parties by Friday.

Everton have been docked six points this season for breaching Premier League profitability and sustainability rules (PSR) in the period up to the 2021-22 season, and face the threat of further sanction after a second complaint was served in January for the period ending June 30, 2023.

The independent commission hearing the second complaint will reportedly conclude on Wednesday. Under league rules, a decision has to be communicated by the commission within seven days of the hearing ending.

Premier League club executives have been accused of “parking the bus” over a new cash offer for the EFL.

Hopes had been raised by top-flight sources of an offer finally being made on Monday, with a deal projected to be worth an extra £900million over six years to the 72 clubs having been on the table.

However, Premier League clubs did not vote on an offer and are instead focused on bringing in a replacement to the controversial profitability and sustainability rules (PSR).

The delay has already faced criticism from former Manchester United captain Gary Neville, and now Dame Caroline Dinenage, the chair of the Culture, Media and Sport (CMS) committee has spoken out.

“The longer this deadlock goes on, the more the stated commitment from Premier League clubs to striking a deal with the rest of the pyramid looks like nothing more than an empty promise,” Dinenage told the PA news agency.

“With the richest teams in the country continuing to park the bus to block a financial settlement, the Premier League’s number should now be up and the Government must urgently introduce its much-trailed legislation to bring an independent regulator into play.

“Every day that goes by without an agreement threatens the financial sustainability of clubs in communities up and down the country.”

The Government has warned the new regulator will have the power to impose a deal on the Premier League and the EFL if they cannot agree one themselves.

The squad cost control measures the Premier League is looking at are not set to be voted on until the league’s annual general meeting at the earliest.

The EFL is set to discuss the matter at a board meeting on Thursday. Until a new deal is signed off, the EFL will not give ground on Carabao Cup semi-final second legs or FA Cup replays.

That is set to create major congestion next season with UEFA’s club competitions due to expand.

The CMS committee quizzed Premier League chief executive Richard Masters and EFL chairman Rick Parry over the lack of an agreement back in January.

Masters admitted at that time that there had been disagreement over both the size of any offer to the EFL, and where any extra money should come from.

However, Premier League sources had indicated at the last meeting on February 29 that there was reason to be optimistic that a deal would be offered.

Evangelos Marinakis believes Premier League chief executive Richard Masters did not speak appropriately when appearing to describe Nottingham Forest and Everton as “small clubs” at a parliamentary hearing.

Masters, under questioning at the Culture, Media and Sport Committee two weeks ago, was criticised after seeking to justify the league’s profit and sustainability rules to MPs.

Asked whether “big clubs” were treated differently under the rules, with deliberation over the 115 charges levelled against Premier League champions Manchester City ongoing, Masters said: “The standard directions (on PSR) are for everybody, they’re not just for the small clubs.”

Forest owner Marinakis responded to those comments at the racial and gender equity in European football conference being hosted by his club.

“I think that was not appropriate,” Marinakis said. “I think it was a bit careless. I think that Nottingham Forest and Everton are very big clubs and maybe are bigger than the ones that we consider today big clubs.

“Big team and small teams is maybe not an appropriate expression.”

At the same conference Thierry Henry, Lilian Thuram, Viv Anderson and Anthony Elanga joined other prominent footballers in signing a pledge to committing themselves to publicly push for racial equality in football.

The statement comes after players and Harvard academics discussed how to further anti-discriminatory aims and references recent cases of racist abuse faced by black professionals involving AC Milan goalkeeper Mike Maignan and Coventry midfielder Kasey Palmer.

Henry said the onus must be put on to football’s governing bodies to make change, saying: “Sometimes you have the sense that the players on the field are alone.”

Premier League and EFL chiefs are set to be questioned by a select committee next week about what progress has been made towards a new agreement over top-flight television revenue.

The PA news agency understands Richard Masters, the Premier League’s chief executive, and EFL chair Rick Parry are due to appear before the Culture, Media and Sport (CMS) committee on Tuesday.

The leagues are involved in discussions, which also include the Football Association, on a so-called ‘New Deal For Football’.

The talks cover a new, enhanced funding package for the EFL and its clubs but also financial controls, calendar changes and work permits.

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters is “not too concerned” for now about Saudi Arabia’s ascendancy in football as he reasoned it takes time to become a dominant force.

Al Hilal submitted a world-record £259million offer for Paris St Germain forward Kylian Mbappe, who has 12 months left on his current deal and been given permission to speak to the Saudi club.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema have already joined the country’s Pro League while Liverpool have agreed a deal with Al-Ettifaq – managed by Steven Gerrard – to sell their captain Jordan Henderson.

“Something new is obviously happening,” Masters told BBC Sport. “The Saudi Pro League have stated they want to be a top 10 league by 2030.

“They are investing in players and managers to try to raise the profile of the league and clubs.

“It has taken us 30 years to get to the position that we have in terms of profile, competitiveness and the revenue streams that we have.

“I wouldn’t be too concerned at the moment but, obviously, Saudi Arabian clubs have as much right to purchase players as any other league does.

“In the end, the Premier League is a £6billion-a-year operation in terms of revenue and that money is spent reinvested into the pitch. All good competitions have to have revenue streams to back them up.”

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