What is a Replay in FA Cup? FA Cup rules on replays and suspensions explained ahead of Manchester United vs Fulham

What is a replay in fa cup ? Replays are an FA Cup tradition. A knockout match ends in a draw after 90 minutes? Then the visiting team just earned a right to host a rematch at a later date.

COVID-19 is putting that tradition on hold, at least for a couple of rounds in 2021-2022.

With the COVID-19 omicron variant causing fixture chaos across England, forcing postponements and leaving clubs to fit more games into a shorter window of time, the English Football Association, which runs the FA Cup, has decided to scrap replays beginning in the Third Round to keep from further straining the schedule.

What happens if FA Cup matches finish in a draw?

Extra time and a penalty-kick shootout (if necessary) are used to determine a winner in the FA Cup beginning with the 5th Round (Round of 16).

The English Football Association (FA) had also scrapped replays in the 3rd and 4th Rounds for this year’s competition to avoid further strain on the English schedule. Replays for those two rounds will return in 2022-23.

There were 13 replays in the 1st and 2nd Rounds of this season’s competition involving lower-tier clubs. In addition to the FA’s extraordinary decision regarding the 3rd and 4th Rounds, the subsequent rounds — the 5th Round (March 1-7), quarterfinals (March 19-20), the semifinals (April 23-24) and final (May 14) — have been replay-free for the last several years.

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Replays for the semifinal stage were nixed beginning in 1999-2000, and since the 2007-2008 season the semis have been played on consecutive weekend days at London’s Wembley Stadium. In 2016-2017 quarterfinal replays were also done away with, and one year later the 5th Round replays were axed.

The FA announcement made it clear that replays will be back for the 2022-2023 competition from the 1st Round through the 4th Round, although any lingering impact of COVID-19 could obviously give rise to a reconsideration.

what is a replay in fa cup

What is an FA Cup replay?

In most knockout tournaments around the world, a winner is required to be determined after every game, as one team must be eliminated and one team must advance. Extra time and, if necessary, a penalty-kick shootout are typically used to break ties after 90 minutes though some tournaments around the world go straight to penalty kicks.

In the FA Cup things have historically been done a little differently. In the event of a draw after 90 minutes in the 1st Round through 4th Round, the game is ended and a replay is scheduled at the visiting team’s home stadium for a later date, when the two teams will play another 90 minutes. If that match also ends in a draw, only then are extra time and penalties utilized.

The concept, in existence since the competition’s inception in 1871, was initially in effect for all rounds, including the final. As recently as the 1990s, there were no penalty shootouts at all in the competition, meaning teams would play as many replays as needed to determine a winner. The last replayed FA Cup final took place in 1993.

After scrapping replays for the semifinals in 1999-2000, the competition organizers later also did it for the quarterfinals beginning in 2016-17 and then for the 5th Round (Round of 16) in 2018, citing fixture congestion. That only leaves replays in case of ties from the 1st Round through the 4th Round. These replays potentially represent a boon for lower tier clubs which benefit financially from a second payday by playing a second game against top-shelf opposition.

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Premier League clubs enter the competition in the 3rd Round, so there are normally only two rounds in which Premier League clubs can theoretically be forced into a replay (3rd & 4th Round) though that wasn’t the case in 2021-22 given the FA’s decision.

How many FA Cup quarter finals have gone to extra time?

With the removal of replays at the quarter-final stage a relatively recent change to the FA Cup (since 2016/17), there have been only three matches in this round that have been settled by extra time or penalties.

Chelsea’s 2-1 victory over Leicester City in 2017 became the first match to be won under the new format, with Brighton’s penalty-kick triumph over Millwall in 2019, the first penalty shootout win.

What happens if FA Cup quarter-final games finish as a draw?

Instead, ties will go to extra-time and if required, penalties, to determine which team progresses through to the semi-finals.

This is the second time in this season’s competition that games ending in a draw will not head to a replay, with replays scrapped to help ease fixture congestion from round five onwards.

Extra-time and penalties will also be used in the semi-finals and final.

Replays were first scrapped from the quarter-final stage onwards in 2016.

Replays had actually been abolished at every stage of the FA Cup over the past two seasons in an attempt to reduce fixture congestion caused by the Covid pandemic.

This meant that extra-time and penalties were in force for every match in every round.

For comparison, in the Carabao Cup, games finishing level went straight to penalties until the semi-final stage, at which point extra-time would have been played before the shootout.

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Quarter-final ties

The last eight of the FA Cup is the last round which is not played at a neutral venue. Both United and City were drawn at home against their respective opponents meaning that Manchester will play host to two ties this weekend, at the Etihad on Saturday and Old Trafford on Sunday.

From the semi-finals onwards, matches will be played at Wembley Stadium with the competing clubs receiving an equal amount of tickets for their fans.

what is a replay in fa cup

Are there replays?

There are no longer replays at this stage of the competition. Ties which are level after 90 minutes will go to extra-time and then penalties if they cannot be separated by the extra half an hour.

Should United and City get past Fulham and Burnley respectively, they could face each other in the semi-finals or one of Brighton and Hove Albion and Grimsby Town or Sheffield United and Blackburn Rovers.

What is the suspension rule in the FA Cup?

Players who have been booked in two FA Cup games are suspended for the next round of the competition. The Reds will be missing Casemiro against Fulham. The Brazilian midfielder received a straight red card last weekend against Southampton and his suspension begins in the FA Cup as it is valid in all domestic matches, hence why he played against Real Betis on Thursday night.

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