The Premier League could lobby for permanent changes to the FA Cup and League Cup to reduce potential fixture congestion.
FA Cup replays in the third and fourth rounds were temporarily scrapped in the two years affected by the Covid pandemic, although they have been restored this season. However, postponements due to the death of Queen Elizabeth II have once again raised questions over scheduling, as has a winter World Cup.
No plans have been finalised regarding FA Cup replays this season, although the League Cup has been affected with third, fourth and fifth round games taking place later in the year than usual.
Now, though, according to The Times, plans will be discussed over more permanent changes, including scrapping third and fourth round FA Cup replays for good from 2024.
Potential new plans for the League Cup would be even more radical, with teams also competing in Europe essentially opting out. Currently, those clubs enter the competition a round later than others in the Premier League.
New plans would see clubs in European competitions either choose to field an under-21 side or pull out completely.
Much of the urgency from the Premier League’s top clubs to ease fixture congestion is prompted by plans to expand the Champions League from 2024. UEFA plan to introduce extra matches into its premier competition, which is putting an obvious strain upon clubs involved in it.
The League Cup has seen a dramatic reduction in prestige in recent years, with even EFL clubs usually fielding weakened teams in the early rounds. That will likely make those clubs receptive to the proposed changes, although the FA Cup plans are expected to meet more resistance.