AAP Soccer

FA Cup replays scrapped to ease backlog

By AAP Newswire

The FA Cup will not have replays for the 2020-21 season to help ease fixture congestion caused by the COVID-19 crisis.

Next season's competition is scheduled to begin on September 1 - only a month after the 2020 final - with the showpiece match at Wembley set to take place on May 15, 2021.

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

The FA added that the prize fund would return to 2017-18 levels because of the financial impact of the novel coronavirus outbreak after two seasons of record payment levels.

Arsenal beat London rivals Chelsea in the 2020 final on August 1 for a record-extending 14th triumph in the competition.

Meanwhile, the English Football League (EFL) said the two-legged semi-finals of the League Cup will be replaced by single ties to be played in January 2021.

The first four rounds of the competition will take place on consecutive weeks, kicking off in early September.

Premier League clubs will enter the competition in the second or third round if they are competing in European competition in the 2020-21 season.

The draw for the first round will take place on August 18.

The new Premier League season will begin on September 12 and finish on May 23, with the full schedule detailing all 380 matches set to be released no later than August 21.

The Premier League has also scrapped its winter break for the 2020-21 season as it aims to finish the campaign well before the rescheduled European Championship, which is set to kick off on June 11 next year.

All 20 teams had one weekend and one full midweek off in February last season.