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The FA Cup is set to alter its format from 2024-25 onwards with a significant change expected in the scrapping of replays from the first round onwards. The new format proposal is part of a six-year agreement between the FA (Football Association) and the Premier League regarding the streamlining of the currently congested soccer calendar. Following Thursday's announcement, the EFL (English Football League) reacted on Friday and offered clarifications on some key aspects of the format changes on top of the replays.

What are these proposed changes?

We have already mentioned the proposal to scrap replays from the first round onwards. Basically, this means ties being settled over one game instead of two through the use of extra time and penalties instead of draws leading to a second game played at the stadium of the team initially drawn to play away from home. On top of that, the FA Cup will now be exclusively a weekend competition so there will be no more midweek games such as the fifth round which had been a midweek round over the past five seasons. The final will also now be timed for the penultimate weekend of the Premier League campaign which lessens interference with the EPL title race, but also ensures that the final day of the Premier League season is the final act of the English domestic soccer season.

How will it impact the FA Cup as we know it?

This decision is not just about the FA Cup and the domestic soccer calendar, but also about the incoming changes related to UEFA competitions in Europe given the format changes with the UEFA Champions League from next term. Making these adjustments is also intended to make the FA Cup more prominent in term of its position on the soccer calendar which has arguably been diluted in recent years, especially with the EFL Cup still part of the domestic silverware on offer. The fourth round until the quarterfinals have often gotten lost in an aggressive wave of rearranged fixtures because of the oversaturated soccer calendar.

Will they actually happen?

For now, yes, these changes are going ahead. However, the EFL has clarified its position on the matter and basically said that the Premier League and FA have done this without any real consultation with the EFL or its clubs regarding the scrapping of replays: "The agreement which now sees the abolition of replays from the competition format was agreed solely between the Premier League and FA," read their statement. "Ahead of the deal being announced there was no agreement with the EFL nor was there any formal consultation with EFL Clubs as members of the FA and participants in the competition."

Who benefits most from this?

Although the EFL did recognize initial discussions regarding FA Cup format changes, those were only with regards to financial distributions and no progress was made since last September. The EFL also suggested that its clubs are being "marginalized" by the EPL and FA in favor of topflight clubs and urged the two to reconsider their stance on Thursday's agreement: "The EFL today calls on both the Premier League and the FA, as the Governing body, to re-evaluate their approach to their footballing partnership with the EFL and engage more collaboratively on issues directly affecting our Clubs. Any decisions taken on the calendar involving EFL representatives are in no way an endorsement of the joint deal agreed between the FA and Premier League that imposes changes to the FA Cup competition format in isolation."