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Replays scrapped for 2020-21 FA Cup season

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Schedule relief

Arsenal v Chelsea - FA Cup Final Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images

In an effort to reduce the schedule demands in a shortened season, The FA have decided to scrap any and all replays for the FA Cup this season.

Technically, this change is only for the 2020-21 season, but the competition has been trending towards fewer replays for a while now, and it would not be surprising to see this made a permanent change for future editions as well.

So, the Cup will be a true single-elimination knockout tournament, which could produce a few additional upsets (“giant-killings”) and add in a bit more magic into the “Magic of the Cup”.

Chelsea, as usual, will be entering in the Third Round Proper, which will be played in January, after the field gets whittled down from the 737 accepted entries to just 64.

(Interestingly, one of the new entrants among the 737 is Hashtag United FC, the now semi-professional team who have César Azpilicueta on their Board as minority co-owner. Azpi also invests in his own eSports FIFA team, though he himself is still not very good at FIFA! Hashtag are in no danger of reaching the Third Round Proper, but I do wonder what the rules are about playing against a team you also co-own...)

In any case, good decision from The FA, though we will probably need a bit more schedule relief to account for the fact that the season is starting a month later than usual.