Bishop & Sewell

The FA is not budging on its decision to stop FA Cup replays, which will have a huge impact on the revenue for smaller clubs in the competition, writes David Little, a partner in our Corporate and Commercial department who increasingly handles Sports Law cases, too.

The decision to stop FA Cup draw replays in favour of extra time and or penalties risks revenues for all lower league clubs – and apparently was made without consulting them. It will mean fewer FA Cup games, and less investment in local grassroots football.

This comes on the back of the decision to take the majority of FA Cup games off free-to-air BBC/ITV channels next year in favour of a paid-subscription deal with TNT sports, and is another slap in the face of the world’s oldest football competition.

I’ve previously written here about the 2022 fan-led review of the football pyramid. The Government then said it would take action if the Premier League and EFL couldn’t agree a financial plan going forward. They haven’t, and as we now know there’s a General Election on 4 July, so progress has literally been kicked into touch. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has said this is a decision for the footballing authorities – and not a Government problem.

The FA cup is one of the purest forms of football where the smallest clubs can take on the giants, create iconic moments and historic upsets (Crawley Town 3-0 Leeds United, 2020/21 FA Cup, springs to mind).

But across the sport, whether it’s Financial Fair Play investigations, VAR controversies, big money takeovers, parachute payments, extortionate season ticket prices, supporting the Women’s Super League or investment in the grassroots, the future of football is not helped by cancelling replays in the FA Cup.


Contact our Sports Law and Corporate & Commercial Solicitor

David Little is a Partner at Bishop & Sewell in our expert Corporate & Commercial team. If you would like to contact him, please quote Ref CB473 on either 07968 027343 or, 020 7631 4141 or email:

The above is accurate as at 25 May 2024. The information above may be subject to change.

The content of this note should not be considered legal advice and each matter should be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Category: Blog, News | Date: 25th May 2024

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