The entire structure of the FA Cup could be upended under proposals seen by the Daily Mail, with early rounds set to be played in midweek and replays set to be scrapped.
In a move that would draw criticism and likely dilute prestige from the oldest domestic cup competition in Europe, reports suggest that the final of the competition could be moved from a standalone round of fixitures and run alongside the penultimate round of Premier League games.
At the centre of the decision is maximising the value of foreign TV rights, in a move that would bolster funding for grassroots football in the country. According to the report, it would also lead to a 10-year-deal for the rights.
The overseas rights for the FA Cup have been in limbo for some time, with the tournament not mirroring the burgeoning value of the Premier League’s attractiveness to overseas broadcasters.
Woes of the FA Cup when it comes to rights are, however, a similar story to other domestic European competitions, as domestic cups across the continent continue to pale in comparison to league rights.
In a move that would enhance the aggravation of the majority of football fans and purists, domestic rights of the competition are also reportedly set to be dragged into the deal – putting the BBC and ITV’s coverage of the competition into jeopardy.
It comes as the football calendar is increasingly congested as UEFA move to elevate the number of matches played in the Champions League group stages.
That being said, the potential move is expected to be met with backlash from many corners in English football, not least from lower league clubs that exponentially benefitted from money generated through forcing replays with bigger clubs in the earlier rounds of the competition.