What happens when FA Cup third round games end in draws?

The FA Cup third round is when Premier League teams enter the draw
The FA Cup third round is when Premier League teams enter the draw / Alex Livesey/GettyImages

Teams from England's top two tiers enter the draw as the always highly anticipated third round of the FA Cup gets underway.

Qualifying for this season's competition began in early August with Seaham Red Star navigating their way past Redcar Athletic. Both clubs and 574 others have since been eliminated but what happens when two teams in the third round proper can't be separated after 90 minutes?

Here's how the world's oldest cup competition will work as the stakes are raised.


The first-ever draw in the FA Cup took place on the opening day of the inaugural tournament in 1871. Hitchin FC and Crystal Palace played out a goalless stalemate. There was no replay arranged and both sides were granted passage to the next round. In the 150 intervening years, the format has changed a bit.

Despite Jurgen Klopp's protestations, teams that draw their third-round matches will participate in a replay, with the hosts of the original encounter travelling to the home venue of their opponents at an agreed upon date.

The Football Association has gradually reduced the number of replays teams are subjected to since declaring that the FA Cup final would be decided on the day in 1998.

There were no replays in the third round of last season's FA Cup due to the fixture congestion of a COVID-19 impacted calendar but they have been restored this year. Fourth-round ties that end in a draw will also go to a replay but from the fifth round onwards, a winner will be declared on the day.

Extra time

In years gone by, there was no limit on FA Cup replays. Alvechurch needed six matches - five replays - to find a way past Oxford City in the fourth qualifying round of the 1971/72 edition.

However, this season teams will only contest one replay if their initial third-round tie ends in a draw. If the sides cannot be separated after another 90 minutes at a second venue, then the teams will continue to duke it out in extra time (two periods of 15 minutes each).

Penalty shootout

If no winner can be established after a further half-hour, the two teams will contest a penalty shootout. Each side is permitted five penalties at the opposition keeper. If neither team comes out on top from the initial set of spot kicks, the shootout enters sudden death before the successful club can finally advance to the next round.

Last season, only three FA Cup matches after the qualifying rounds were decided by penalty shootouts. Queens Park Rangers got the better of Rotherham in the only third-round tie to go to spot kicks in 2021/22 before Middlesbrough knocked out Manchester United via penalties in the following round.

Liverpool lifted the trophy after defeating Chelsea on penalties in just the third final decided from 12 yards.