Get Rid of FA Cup Replays… Question Mark.
That’s it. That’s the article.
But here’s some filler, I guess.
For the 2020/21 competition, replays were suspended and replaced with extra time and penalties due to the squeeze placed on the game by that pesky global pandemic. Now, however, the pandemic is over and we are able to travel freely and as much as we want and it is completely safe to do so.
If you’re reading this in the distant future, that was sarcasm.
What was pleasant about that 20/21 edition was that every match had an outcome, it was sorted then and there without the need for the usual rematch a few days later.
I thought the approval for the dynamic was quite universal, but apparently the FA hated it, and (still in the midst of a global crisis) decided to revert to the replay system.
Now, like literally anything in the world apart from black and white, this isn’t black and white. There are a lot of factors in between that can be handily read in the medium of a pros and cons list.
So here we are:-
- The replay is played at the ground of the team who were the away side in the initial match. This means that they get the monetary reward of the gate that they were initially denied by the random draw of fixtures.
- In the same vein, it can be considered a reward for the initial away side to earn a home game after going away and getting a draw (even though the initial home side managed to draw as well and this one doesn’t really take in financial/hierarchy disparity).
- Another game in an already congested calendar.
- The initial match could be seen as a wasted day for all, with no outcome or result. The replay is merely delayed gratification.
- While the looming threat of a replay might make the sides push for the win, it does then essentially punish them for not attaining it.
- Discards the momentum of lower-league sides against higher-positioned opposition.
- Plays into the favour of better-off sides who have better facilities with/in which to prep as they play fewer games overall then their lower division counterparts.
- For right now it means more travel in dangerous times. We’re constantly told travel should be kept to a minimum and while I haven’t seen my family outside of Zoom in 453 days, Ipswich will travel to Barrow to reignite their hotly contested 0–0 from a week prior.
I’m sure those who travelled to that Ipswich-Barrow encounter felt a little hard done by that they had to sit through a drab game only to have no outcome, not even a point (as they would in league conditions) to come away with smiling about.
From these lists, it comes down to comparing whether pride and the money a club attains from a mid-week evening game that normally wouldn’t be there is worth it when stacked up against player and staff fatigue, time-wasting, the draining of morale, cancelled plans, elitist schedules, and the risk of spreading a life-threatening disease that we know very little about.
It’s just a little thing, but it might help.
Said Tesco in a mildly alternate universe.
Keep it streets ahead,