The FA has today announced that fifth round replays in the Emirates FA Cup will be removed from this season’s competition, one season earlier than previously planned.
The move was agreed by the Professional Game Board and has been introduced to alleviate fixture congestion, with six Premier League clubs qualifying for the knockout stages of European competitions and UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League ties and a midweek round of Premier League fixtures scheduled in latter February and March.
This season’s fifth round will remain as originally scheduled on the weekend of 16/17 February, moving to midweek in 2019-20 – with no replays – as part of the mid-season player break agreed by The FA, Premier League and EFL in June.
Therefore, from this season onwards, fifth round ties will be played to a finish on the day, with extra-time and penalties if necessary.
The prize fund for the competition was doubled at the beginning of the season and for this season only, should a fifth round tie end in a draw after 90 minutes, the prize fund payment for that fixture [£360k] will be split.
Seventy-five per cent will be allocated to the eventual winner of the tie and 25 per cent allocated to the loser.
The third round is scheduled for the weekend of Saturday 5 January 2019.