03/08/2020

The FA Cup: Early Rounds Scheduled as Prize Money Falls

As the countdown to the 2020/21 campaign continues the FA have confirmed the dates for the early stages of the Emirates FA Cup with plenty of local grassroots teams expected to be involved.
In a statement, released via the FA's official website, The Emirates FA Cup schedule for the early rounds of the 2020/21 season has been confirmed, with the competition due to begin on Tuesday, 1st September.

The draws for the Extra Preliminary and Preliminary Rounds will be released on Tuesday, 18th August 2020.

In order to assist in easing pressure on the football schedule, the FA confirmed that there will be no replays for the 2020/21 season in the Qualifying competition. The schedule for the competition proper will be released in due course.

Despite clubs already struggling to stay afloat the Cup prize fund has returned back in line with 2017/18 levels - effectively halved - with the organisation blaming the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic for this decision.

Whilst coronavirus has clearly had an impact upon the FA, the organisation has a duty of care to consider when setting out its prize money structure and as such should be aware that many clubs lower down the league pyramid rely on the money earned via cup competitions.

Although the Premier League is often seen as the sole focus of the FA many clubs are a crucial part of their community and allowing them to shrink yet further is simply unacceptable, especially as the clubs in the top tier receive such vast sums of money for simply existing.

FA Cup: Qualifying Rounds Schedule
• Extra Preliminary round: Tuesday, 1st September 2020
• Preliminary round: Saturday, 12th September 2020
• First round qualifying: Tuesday, 22nd September 2020
• Second round qualifying: Saturday, 3rd October 2020
• Third round qualifying: Tuesday, 13th October 2020
• Fourth round qualifying: Saturday, 24th October 2020

The FA also confirmed that the dates for the First Rround proper and beyond will be confirmed in due course.

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