The FA has responded to comments by Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp regarding the scheduling of the FA Cup fourth round replays.
Liverpool will need a replay to advance to the next round after squandering a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 with League One side Shrewsbury on Sunday, with their second meeting at Anfield set to be scheduled for either 4 or 5 February, in the middle of the first week of the Red’s winter break.
Klopp has criticised the timing of the replays for clashing with the newly introduced mid-season break for Premier League teams, and says neither he or his first-team squad will participate in the fixture, the clash likely to be overseen by under-23s boss Neil Critchley.
The Liverpool boss is amongst a host of managers to have voiced their concerns over the congest English football calendar and his latest actions are likely to draw huge criticism, though the Merseyside club are reportedly prepared to back his stance.
The FA have now released a statement responding to Klopp’s comments, admitting all teams were aware of the replay dates well ahead of their fourth round fixtures last weekend.
“The FA went to great lengths to create an annual mid-season player break, working closely with the Premier League and its clubs,” an official FA statement reads. “It is a new and significant addition to the English football calendar and is designed to benefit clubs and their players.”
“This allowed the Premier League room in its calendar to have a split round of fixtures over two weekends,” the statement added.
“Prior to start of the 2019/20 season, all clubs accepted that Emirates FA Cup fourth round replays, where required, would have to take place during the first week of the mid-season player break. This will only affect a small number of clubs due to the split of Premier League fixtures in the mid-season player break.”
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