Former Hereford FC Chairman Jon Hale has taken to Twitter to criticise changes made to the FA Cup, following an agreement between the FA and the Premier League.

A number of Football League clubs and Non League clubs, including the likes of Tranmere Rovers and Exeter City, have also condemned the changes. 

Many people have pointed out that had these changes had been in place in 1972, then Hereford’s giant-killing of Newcastle United in a replay and the Ronnie Radford goal, may never have happened. This fixture and it’s memorable goal have been a selling point for the FA Cup for decades, with the goal shown nearly every time an FA Cup fixture is televised. 

In a post on Twitter, former Hereford FC chairman Jon Hale said:

“Absolute disgrace football authorities. Further evidence they don’t give a stuff about lower league and non league football. Even more so, about supporters too.

“Driven by sucking up to the money people. 

“Should be ashamed @FA @premierleague you are killing dreams, killing football.”

The announcement from the FA said:

“The FA and the Premier League have reached a new agreement which will strengthen the Emirates FA Cup format with new and exclusive calendar windows.

“The agreement, which is for a minimum of six years, starts next season. All rounds of the Emirates FA Cup will now be played on weekends, including the fifth round which has been played in midweek for the last five seasons.

“The fourth and fifth rounds and the quarter-finals all will be exclusive of Premier League fixtures for the first time, and the fourth round will have an extended window from Friday to Wednesday to allow fans to watch consecutive days of Emirates FA Cup football.”

The Emirates FA Cup 2024-25:

  • All rounds played on weekends
  • Fourth, fifth and quarter-finals weekends exclusive of EPL games
  • No replays from first round proper
  • Cup Final weekend exclusive of EPL games
  • Premier League to increase funding to football pyramid

Tranmere Rovers were the first club to go public with a statement condemning the changes. Their statement said:

“Tranmere Rovers condemn the disgraceful decision taken by The FA and the Premier League to change the format of the FA Cup, including the scrapping of replays.

“There was no consultation with Football League clubs, National League clubs or grassroots clubs to whom the competition represents not only their best opportunity to create life-long memories for supporters but also a hugely important source of income. 

“We also understand that FA Council members were not consulted about the changes.

“The decision, and the way it was taken, demonstrate a total lack of respect for the football pyramid and its fans. Football belongs to all of us and decisions should not be taken in back room deals in which only the very wealthiest clubs are allowed to participate. 

“It is yet another eloquent example of the 19th-century governance that means that football simply cannot regulate itself and needs the Independent Football Regulator to have real teeth.

“We condemn the changes wholeheartedly and urge The FA to suspend them immediately until all stakeholders in the game are properly consulted.”

Exeter City Football Club, whose FA Cup draw at Old Trafford and subsequent replay saved the club from financial difficulties, also released a statement. It said:

“Exeter City FC and the Exeter City Supporters’ Trust are bitterly disappointed, but not surprised, to learn of the fundamental changes that have been agreed to the format of the FA Cup, with seemingly no consultation of EFL and National League clubs.

“Our football club, like many others, owes its past, its present and its future to the FA Cup replays that have now been taken away from us by those who sit at the very top of the game.The televised replay against Manchester United that helped keep the Club alive in the early years of supporter ownership. 

“The trip to Anfield after holding Liverpool to a draw at St James Park. The home replays against Leicester City and Newcastle United on our way to the Quarter Finals in 1981. And so many more.

“That only a select few clubs are allowed to slowly chip away at the very fabric of what makes the English game the envy of most with complete impunity serves only as a reminder of why the Independent Regulator is so desperately needed.

“Exeter City Football Club and the Exeter City Supporters’ Trust condemn the decision to scrap FA Cup replays and call on The FA to suspend these changes with immediate effect until a consultation of all stakeholders has taken place.“