The Emirates FA Cup schedule has been officially confirmed for the 2020/21 season, with the domestic competition not holding any replays and featuring a reduced prize pool, as announced by England’s football governing body.
The FA has stated that the decision to remove replay rounds from the competition’s format is to ‘assist in easing pressure on the football schedule’ while the cup’s prize pool has been reduced to its 2017-18 levels following the ‘financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic’.
Last season, the FA Cup victors Arsenal garnered £3.6m for solely winning the final. However, the upcoming competition’s reward has been slashed to £1.8m. In fact, all fixtures from the first round have seen a drop in rewards, with last year’s semi-final victors gaining the same amount as an FA Cup victory for the upcoming campaign, in terms of prize money.
England’s top domestic cup is expected to commence with the extra preliminary round on September 1, while the first round is scheduled for November 7.
The FA Cup isn’t the only competition to adjust its schedule to adapt to a late campaign commencement as the Carabao Cup has announced it will remove two legged semi-finals in favour of single ties.
Moreover, the first four rounds of the competition will take place on consecutive weeks, kicking off from September 5. Premier League sides will enter the competition in round two unless they are competing in European competitions in which they will be featured in round three.
For the first time, the fifth round will be played prior to Christmas in order to avoid any clashes with the newly revised 2020/21 Champions League schedule.
Insider Insight: Due to the impact of coronavirus last season, it has subsequently created a domino effect, particularly with the UEFA European Championships being moved to this season and campaigns starting later.
As a result, all competitions have had to reschedule entire campaigns to work around the restart while also taking into account that some competitions, such as the Champions League and Europa League, are still taking place.