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Major FA decision that impacts Aston Villa, Wolves, Birmingham City and West Brom

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The FA’s decision to scrap FA Cup replays marks a significant change to the format of the competition, aiming to streamline the schedule and enhance its competitiveness. With no replays from the first round proper onwards, the focus will be on ensuring all rounds are played on weekends, allowing for greater accessibility and engagement from fans.

The agreement between the FA and the Premier League, spanning six years, also includes exclusive weekends for the fourth and fifth rounds, ensuring no Premier League matches clash with FA Cup fixtures. Additionally, extending the fixture window from Friday to Wednesday provides more flexibility for scheduling and allows for consecutive days of FA Cup football.

Moving the FA Cup final to the penultimate weekend of the Premier League campaign, on a Saturday, further emphasizes the significance of the event in the footballing calendar. With no Premier League matches scheduled the day before and limited matches the day after, the focus will be on building anticipation and excitement for the showpiece event.

The decision also comes with a positive financial impact, as the Premier League will provide an additional £33 million in funding to the football pyramid, bringing the total to £133 million per campaign from the 2025/26 season onwards. This funding will support various initiatives and contribute to the development of the game at all levels.

Mark Bullingham, the chief executive of the FA, highlighted the importance of securing a strong format for the Emirates FA Cup, emphasizing its role in generating revenue to invest back into the game. The new schedule aims to protect and enhance the magic of the Cup while accommodating the needs of the English football calendar, including a much-needed player break before the start of the next season.

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