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FA Cup revamps prize money to help lower league clubs after axing replays

The FA Cup is set to recalculate the prize money for lower league clubs to offset the loss of revenue from scrapped replays, according to the Daily Mail.

The total prize pool of £33 million won’t change, but the distribution will. Winners and losers in the earlier rounds are likely to receive a boost, with potential cuts for clubs progressing deeper into the competition.

This move comes after the controversial decision to eliminate FA Cup replays from the first round onwards, citing an overloaded calendar due to the expanded Champions League format.

The FA subsequently faced a fierce backlash, particularly from lower league clubs fearing a financial hit.

Former FA Chief Executive Officer and current executive chair of League Two club Tranmere Rovers Mark Palios branded the decision to axe replays ‘an absolute disgrace’.

AFC Wimbledon echoed those sentiments, condemning the change of format.

Despite the widespread complaints, the FA continues to stand by its decision to cull the replays and remains adamant that no club will be worse off financially. 

They point to increased television coverage of early-round ties, which will generate additional broadcast revenue. All ties will be played on weekends, and a yearly review of prize money remains in place.

The prize money for winners currently progresses from £41,000 in the first round to £1 million for reaching the final. While the overall pot stays the same, the exact changes to the distribution structure are yet to be confirmed. 

Discussions will likely include potential adjustments for losing teams in earlier rounds, who previously benefited financially from replays against higher-division opponents.

For lower-league clubs, a replay against a Premier League giant can mean a six-figure windfall. 

Even a second match against a popular Championship side can bring in between £250,000 and £500,000. The revised prize money structure aims to ensure these clubs aren’t financially disadvantaged by the lack of replays.

The FA Cup remains a vital source of income for lower-league clubs, offering a potential financial windfall and a chance to test themselves against elite competition.

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