The FA are reportedly ‘refusing’ to bow to increasing pressure from Premier League managers to ease fixture pile-ups after several have bemoaned the extreme intensity of the winter schedule and the physical effects it is having on their players.
Spurs‘ Harry Kane and Manchester United‘s Marcus Rashford are just two players to suffer significant injuries over the last month, both now doubtful for England’s Euro 2020 campaign, and there have been growing calls for the authorities to take action over the ever-increasing football schedule at this time of year.
In the last week, Pep Guardiola has suggested that authorities ‘eliminate competitions’ from the calendar, whilst Jurgen Klopp has suggested that FA Cup replays be scrapped, all with the intention of reducing the number of games played and increasing players’ recovery time, something which should also improve the quality of football on show.
However, according to a report in the Mail, the FA are remaining firm on their perspective and are ‘refusing’ to scrap FA Cup third and fourth-round replays, with lower league clubs benefitting enormously in terms of finances from away ties against Premier League sides.
The FA already made concessions by removing replays from the fifth round onwards to facilitate a mid-season break, though that does not take place until February with the vast majority of the season already over.
To make things worse for the top clubs, there are also rumours of a potential expansion of the Champions League from 2024 onwards, while FIFA have announced plans for an expanded version of the Club World Cup from 2021.