FA Cup quarter-finals: Why are there four subs and no replays? A guide to the new rules

Sean Gibson
The Telegraph
FA Cup quarter-finals: Why are there four subs and no replays? A guide to the new rules
FA Cup quarter-finals: Why are there four subs and no replays? A guide to the new rules

This season there have been some changes made to the FA Cup.

Depending which side of the fence you're sitting on in the eternal argument over the competition's future, these changes constitute either a sensible, overdue move with the times - or a another damning insult to a battered football institution.

Sidestepping that quagmire, we all need to become au fait with these latest changes to the FA Cup - as they come into effect this weekend.

 

The FA have firstly caved on the naming of the upcoming round of their ancient competition. No longer will sticklers be able to insist that it's actually the Sixth Round of the Cup we are watching. The colloquial term has become the official name - we are now undeniably at the quarter-final stage.

There will also no longer be any quarter-final replays - the four ties will go straight to extra time and penalties if scores are level after 90 minutes.

And the final change of significance for the 2016-17 season is regarding substitutes. Four replacements will now be allowed per game from the quarter-finals onwards - but only once the game goes to extra time.

The FA is making these changes as a commitment to help ease English football's fixture congestion at the business-end of the season, as well as to help the England national team - a reason cited in the creation of the Premier League back in 1992.

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Speaking last summer, when the changes were authorised, FA chief executive Martin Glenn said: "In a demanding calendar and with increased pressures on fans it is important we consider new innovations.

"While fully respecting tradition and history, this new development will help the Cup retain its status as a much-loved and world-renowned competition."

Whether these changes work to the long-term benefit of the competition remains to be seen. Certainly, whether viewed as positives or negatives, similar such compromises have failed to do enough to stem the tide of change.

Semi-final replays were ended after 1999, with replays of the Final having already been outlawed in 1993. Semi-finals, traditionally held on neutral ground, have now become well-established as Wembley mainstays - to the annoyance of many fans.

These new changes to the quarter-final stage of the competition deny non-league Lincoln City - the first non-league side for more than a century to reach this stage of the Cup - a chance to bring Premier League big boys Arsenal back to Sincil Bank for a replay.

What are the fixtures and kick-off times?

  • Middlesbrough vs Manchester City (Saturday, 12:15pm)

  • Arsenal vs Lincoln City (Saturday, 5:30pm)

  • Tottenham vs Millwall (Sunday, 2:00pm)

  • Chelsea vs Manchester United (Monday, 7:45pm)

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