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Fans To Discuss FA Cup Future With Football Association

Fan representatives will meet with the Football Association over the next two weeks amid concerns over the FA Cup’s future.

The FA is in talks with the Premier League over a long-term partnership to sell overseas Premier League and FA Cup rights collectively in the future, the PA news agency understands.

It has been reported the partnership would effectively lead to the FA handing control over its most prestigious competition to the Premier League.

The Football Supporters’ Association expressed its concern at the reports on Thursday and said it had written to the FA to request a meeting.

PA understands the fans’ group got a swift response from FA chief executive Mark Bullingham. No date has been fixed, but it is understood the intention is for the meeting to take place over the next couple of weeks.

The FSA has been encouraged by the level of engagement it has had with the FA in recent years, with FA chair Debbie Hewitt becoming the first person in her position to attend one of the FSA’s events in person when she helped open the European Football Fans Congress in Manchester last month.

Fan sources hope the governing body will be able to allay concerns over what any deal with the Premier League might mean for the FA Cup.

Reports have suggested it could mean the scrapping of replays, making the cup a midweek competition and stripping the final of its own slot at the end of the domestic season.

Talks around how the domestic calendar could look from 2024-25, when the expansion of UEFA’s club competitions will create extra pressure, were already part of the ‘New Deal For Football’ discussions involving the FA, the Premier League and the EFL.

Those talks are aimed at finding an ‘all game solution’ to various issues including financial distribution from the Premier League to the EFL and the pyramid, cost controls and work permits.

The FSA’s most recent fan survey found 70 per cent of supporters wanted replays to remain a part of the FA Cup, while fewer than 10 per cent backed the idea of all FA Cup ties being played in midweek.

The meeting is likely to come after the new tender process for the overseas rights has closed, with the deadline for invitations set at July 17.

The Infront Sports and Media agency had been given preferred bidder status for a portion of the overseas rights by the FA in early May in the original tender process, but said the FA had abruptly paused negotiations after receiving a third party offer which it needed to assess.

PA understands the new tender is much longer term than the original, and includes all overseas rights when existing deals expire.