Ten Hag's view on the end of replays

Friday 19 April 2024 14:14

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag is sad that FA Cup replays have been scrapped but sees the change as unavoidable considering the increased fixture schedule.

The FA has announced changes to its flagship competition, which will come into force for six years from the 2024/25 season.

All games from the first round onwards will now be settled on the day, through extra-time and penalties if necessary.

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Other alterations have been made, such as guaranteed exclusive weekends for certain rounds of the FA Cup, but the abolition of replays in the competition proper has made the most headlines, garnering criticism in some quarters.

Although replays were not used in the 2020/21 or 2021/22 seasons due to the Covid fixture backlog, the news ends 152 years of tradition and Ten Hag understands the upset.

However, he feels something had to give when the increased demands on footballers are taken into consideration, with the European tournaments and the Club World Cup being expanded next term.

“It's very sad for the British football culture, but also I think it was inevitable,” said Ten Hag.

“No-one can do anything for it, it's due to the overload in the schedule, and that's dictated by FIFA, UEFA, and also England is part of UEFA.

“We are a big competition, we have a big influence and a big impact on FIFA and UEFA, but there are so many other countries and they are making the football schedule.

“You see there is so much overload on the players. We talk [about] this issue so often and it has to stop somewhere.

“As I said, I feel really sorry, really sad for the clubs in English football, but for top players, this is a measure of what can make some space in the schedule.”