FA Cup Replays Could Be Dropped to Incorporate Winter Break

Jun 28, 2010 - Rustenburg, South Africa - England press conference at their World Cup base in Royal Bafokeng, South Africa..EVERY England fan was waiting impatiently for the moment when he would fall on his sword. But yesterday, in an astonishing dis-play of brinkmanship, FABIO CAPELLO refused to quit and the cowardly FA failed to sack him. The 64-year- old Italian hung on for a potential  12million payout despite masterminding Sunday's 4-1 defeat by Germany - England's worst-ever performance in a World Cup match.

It seems as if all the whining and whinging to the FA hasn’t fallen on deaf ears as a proposal to the FA concerning a winter break is slowly gaining steam within the game. Eliminating FA Cup replays is just one of a few ideas that could see a vital winter break implemented in the future, a break that could go a long way in benefiting the England team in years where a major tournament follows in the summer.

Players, managers and fans have all called for some form of a winter break for what seems like years now as the mentally and physically draining Premier League season relentlessly continues to take it’s toll on England’s best and leaves them nothing short of exhausted, broken and drained a mere few weeks before a World Cup or European Championship.

The Premier League has been no fan of a supposed winter break stating the already crowded fixture list leaves no room for time off during winter. The break through in early progress seems to be the Premier League’s willingness to negotiate with the FA if they consider dropping the arguably unneeded FA Cup replays.

In the cash rich Premier League, the idea of a winter break couldn’t be simply achieved largely because of the money involved. Smaller clubs who benefit from the gate receipts and revenue generated from FA Cup replays (the revenue generated from an away replay is sometimes enough to fund a small club for months or longer) have spoken up for the small guy while top Premier League clubs want an assurance from the FA that a lucrative Wembley friendly wouldn’t be scheduled to fill the break. These such meaningless internationals would of course prompt international call ups for England players, a move surely to be frowned upon by clubs.

What are your thoughts on a winter break? Should the Premier League and FA hash out an agreement and provide England with a break similar to that of the Bundesliga? Would it benefit the England national team if they qualify for the next Euro and or World Cup? Are the FA Cup replays worth discarding if it meant Premier League players could get a much needed rest?

28 thoughts on “FA Cup Replays Could Be Dropped to Incorporate Winter Break”

  1. I like the Christmas fixtures and the FA Cup replays. If the FA wants to bring prestige back to the Cup, give the winner a CL slot.

    It would, however, be one less scapegoat for England when they inevitably flame out in 2014.

    1. I completely agree, its a waste of time – big clubs use it to blood new players. Little clubs may like it but even a lot of them put out weaker sides and attendances are poor.

      1. Exactly – it’s got to the point now where NO-ONE cares about it. Nearly ALL the teams (not just in the premier league) rest their key players for various reasons: the bigger teams need to focus on winning the league or making the top 4, the weaker teams want to avoid relegation. Even in the lower divisions, most teams would rather focus on getting promotion/avoiding relegation rather than putting any effort into a competition they’re unlikely to win anyway.

        To be honest, and I’m sad to say it, the same holds true of the FA Cup nowadays. It seems like teams almost win it “by accident” without really paying too much attention.

        So here’s a radical suggestion that would maybe alleviate the fixture congestion AND offer a boost to young English players. How about they scrap the Carling cup altogether (or just limit it to non-prem teams at least), and change the FA Cup so that it’s purely for ENGLISH players under a certain age limit (maybe 21).

        That way (a) the top players don’t get burnt out, (b) smaller teams still get their chance of a shot at glory against a premier league team, (c) younger players get a chance to shine and gain some experience (perhaps to the benefit of the national team), and (d) perhaps the winning club could at least get some recognition as being the number 1 producer of young national players in the country.

        I know this would have some obvious obstacles (I think the clubs would expect more than just prestige or recognition as reward for winning, and the whole plan might fall foul of some European employment law of some kind), but I think it’s a nifty way of killing two birds with one stone.

  2. Selfishly, I hope they do not institute a winter break, as Boxing Day and its full slate of matches has quickly become one of my favorite times of year. As for the FA replays, I’d be surprised if they were scrapped just because, as the article stated, especially in this current economy these small clubs are relying so much on them to meet their finances.

    Also, I think anyone who places the “no winter break” excuse into the Top 20 reasons why England have underwhelmed recently is fooling themselves. The Germans aren’t better because they had a few winter weeks off; they’re better because they’ve been developed as talented young players to play a specific, effective system that produces wonderful results on a senior national level. Similarly, the Spanish obviously have an identifiable “system” of passing and possession that has been ingrained within their soccer culture. The English?

  3. They need to figure something out. Yeah we’d miss the Christmas fixtures but so what!? They cram too many fixtures into that time anyways. It’s almost the exact opposite to the rest of Europe. They manage to squeeze in a Winter break, why can’t we?
    Scrapping the Carling Cup and/or removing the need for replays would do the smaller clubs no favours. While I do think replays are a waste of time, they do benefit the little guys. Perhaps the FA could work out some kind of compensation for smaller teams if the get to and beyond a certain point in the cup, an extra percentage of the gate receipts, sponsorship or TV revenue?
    Slip in a winter break and extend the season by two weeks, you’re welcome Premier League!

  4. There are a lot of problems with the English national team and this is one of them so it makes sense to fix it. I just hope they take the break in January as I love Xmas games. A three week break after New Years Day would be fine though.

  5. Another important point – a lot of people are opposed to the winter break because it might end the tradition of games being played around Boxing Day (December 26th, for all you Americans) and New Year. This isn’t necessarily the case – the break could just AFTER the holiday period (i.e. in January).

  6. Here is the easy fix:

    1) Reduce EPL to 18 teams – 4 less games each year
    2) Winter break during month of January – takes care of #1
    3) EPL out of Football League Cup (ie Carling Cup) – This should be for Football League Clubs ONLY
    4) 6th place in EPL goes to UEFA Europa League
    5) Keep FA Cup replays – I am one of the few who actually likes them

    Easy, simple, and it shouldn’t take a brain to do this.

  7. I think the EPL should drop to 18 teams too. The Leauge cup idea without EPL teams is a good idea too. FA CUP repalsy should go too though.

  8. The players need their rest in order to be in top form when international tournaments start kicking in…it would greatly benefit England’s players to keep them fresh and well rested to play football.

  9. If the winter break is enforced it should take placed in January.

    If FA cup replays are scrapped the team with the league position of the 92 should get home advantage.

    The League Cup should remain open to all teams but Premier League teams must include 6 players under the age of 25 in their starting 11.

    Under no circumstances should the boxing day and new year fixtures be scrapped. These fixtures can be a real money spinner for lower league teams and are a vital part of football culture in this country.

    To be perfectly honest it seems pretty pathetic that all these suggestions are being made when a bunch of lazy, idle, tossers cannot be arsed to go and kick a bag of wind around in South Africa but will come back and expect to be lauded as heroes when playing for their clubs. It couldn’t have happened to a bunch of more obscene and vile individuals as the England football team. Spineless cretins the vast majority of them.

  10. I am sick of this winter break lark. i do not know of any fans in england that want a winter break. the clubs do, but will they send their poor little players home for a couple of weeks, tell them to take it easy? relax? take the kids away ? if thats what you think you are brainless. each club will sod off around the world to do what,do you think? er, oh yea to play football. so to sum it all up, we have a break from football to travel all over the planet to play football. all they want is to earn some money then come home and play some more football, great, that will make them play better, after that winter break, IanCransonsKnees, you are dead right mate you should be on the F.A. board

  11. I agree about there being too much of a big deal about the winter break. Is the winter break going to magically improve the chances of England footballers during major tournaments? No.

    Yes, a winter break is a start and it would help. But more focus needs to be made on pumping money from the FA and the Premier League into grassroots football as well as getting more adults involved in coaching and refereeing and changing the entire structure of football in the UK.

    The Gaffer

    1. Despite my musings above, I agree with Gaffer and a few others that the winter break issue is only a very minor factor in the reason why England continue to suck in international tournaments. Implementing a winter break will not solve this by itself.

      I also agree with Redskind (below), that if there was a winter break, the first thing Man Utd (and other clubs) would do is book a 3 week tour of Asia or the US, so it would completely defeat the point.

      Also, does any one else agree that the idea of scrapping the FA Cup replays is a complete red-herring anyway??? I mean, how many FA Cup games actually went to replays? How many England-eligible players were actually involved in replays? I don’t know the stats on this issue, but I don’t believe that scrapping the replays would significantly reduce the players’ workloads.

  12. I agree, creating a winter break is not the magic sponge for a successful english team. I will miss the holiday fixtures.

  13. The Gaffer
    A winter break is a waste of time.
    they have a break in france, did it help them, did it help Italy ?
    I can not see any point in having a break, the clubs will bugger off all over the world to play games, how will that help to make this bunch of piss poor pathetic rich boys play better football.
    This break is not about resting players it is about clubs wanting a jolly-up in the middle of winter, and to earn money.
    And this is England we are talking about here. the weather can be quite mild even in the middle of winter. what happens if the weather is fine during the break, and then goes tits-up when the league is due to start again.
    this happend in germany a few years ago they had their break, the weather was fine, when they were due to resume the league, they could not play any games for another four weeks due to bad weather.

  14. Scrap the league cup or make it an U 21 competition. Scrap the FA Cup re-plays as added time and pens will do.
    Give them the first 2 weeks in January off.
    Doing the above should bring it more in line with the rest of Europe as they only have one cup competition and a few weeks off over Christmas.
    England will never get rid of the games over the Christmas period, they are part of the history of game in the country but i don’t see why we can’t let them have the first two weeks of January off.

  15. Keep the same schedule during the Xmas period. Follow that with one week of no matches. then, during the last two weeks of January play the Carling Cup fixtures only. Since most teams use their fringe players in the Carling Cup anyway most of the regulars will be able to rest. For players coming back from injury it will give them an opportunity to get some meaningful playing time in the Carling Cup.

  16. Maybe I’m a purist but I like the cup replays. Who can forget the best one of the all in 99 with all the drama capped of by Ryan Giggs mazy run to glory. Also the league cup is a good chance for those out side the big four to win a trophy. I’m sure sides like Spurs, Boro and Blackburn were very pleased to win there first bit of silverware in a while, a long while in the case of the Teeside club. Maybe it’s just me but the haste to abandon all this history seems to be coming for those who have come in in the last few years and who watch a lot of the champions league and premier league and are not aware of the history of English football before 2000 or before the premier league. I remember back in the 99-00 season when they tried playing the third round of the FA Cup before Christmas instead of the first weekend in January there was a huge dip in attendances. I personally don’t think the fixture list will be changed as the clubs only care about themselves and a smaller club the extra gate receipts from a replay against a big club are a important injection of cash for them.

  17. Here’s my idea how to get the England players 1 month break by rescheduling EPL games to mid-week with no lost games. We can forget any reduction in EPL teams or number of EPL games. Money men just won’t let it happen. And less than a month is token. Germany players sparkle at international comps because they are always peaking again after their 6 week winter break.

    1) no FA cup replays, saves 1 week, 2) make EPL teams field under-23 teams (outfield players) in the league cup, saves their 1st choice players 2 weeks, 3) have 2 x EPL weekends where half of teams play and half rest, either side of the 3 non-playing weeks in January.

    The league cup would be much more interesting if we saw emerging EPL players in a genuine competition with Championship teams. It could get a buzz a bit like U.S. college football instead of being the bolt on nobody cares about. Need to change Euro qualification rules, but easily done.

  18. This story really sums up the pathetic mind set of those who run English football these days. Most teams never play more than a couple of FA Cup replays each season so to suggest that this somehow tires them out before the World Cup is total crap!

    The youth development and coaching system that has been in place for the last 20 years has far more to do with England’s poor performance but rather than facing up to the hard truths the whole mind set seems to be to find a convenient scapegoat and blame it for everything that went wrong. This tabloid-driven quick fix mentality is exactly the reason why England is now a second rate football nation even if does have the richest league in the world. Be prepared for more heartache in 2014 if this is the best the FA can come up with.

  19. Do any of you actually live in England??? I’m sorry but as a huge English football fan, NOBODY in England refers to the Premier League as the EPL!!!!!! It isn’t MLS, NFL or NBA, so please please please America will you stop calling it the EPL, it makes us people in England cringe!! It’s the PREMIER LEAGUE, got it??

  20. Stop calling it the EPL!!! Nobody in England EVER calls it that! It’s not the MLS or MLB, it’s the PREMIER LEAGUE!!!!! English people cringe when we hear you call in the EPL so please stop and call it it’s actual name

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