The 2016-17 Emirates FA Cup is set to feature the introduction of a fourth substitute for the quarter finals, semi-finals and Final. World football’s law-making-body IFAB is carrying out a global study into a proposal that would allow teams to make a fourth replacement during extra time.
And subject to IFAB approval, The FA will play a lead role in testing to introduce this innovation for the closing stages of this season’s Cup.
This would mean clubs who have used three substitutes from the seven players named on their bench during the sixth round, semi-finals and Final will then be allowed to introduce a fourth player in extra time. This format was first trialed earlier this summer in the Copa America tournament
The innovation follows on from the announcement of a sudden-death format for the quarter final stage in the 2016-17 edition. The revamped competition will see eight clubs battle it out in ties to be played to a finish on the day.
“The Emirates FA Cup is renowned for its great history and tradition but, as the game’s governing body, it is important The FA continues to look at how it can further add to the drama and spectacle of a competition loved by millions around the world,” said FA chief executive Martin Glenn.
“With The Cup now adopting a straight knockout format from the quarter finals onwards, the introduction of a fourth substitute in extra time will bring extra intrigue and interest.
“Also, from a technical point of view, it will be interesting to see how managers use the chance to make an additional substitution in such high-profile games and the impact it has on the final result.
“Player welfare and being mindful of the number of games people play at the elite level has also been a consideration.”
This season’s competition gets under way on Friday 5 August with 184 extra preliminary round ties taking place over the weekend.
A stand-out tie on Friday 5 August is Sholing at home to Bournemouth Poppies FC. Sholing won the 2014 FA Vase final at Wembley Stadium, defeating West Auckland Town with a 1-0 victory.
In all, 736 clubs will be involved this season with the showpiece finale coming at Wembley Stadium connected by EE on Saturday 27 May 2017, the tenth anniversary since the national stadium reopened.
The extra preliminary round will see 17 clubs making their FA Cup debut with some famous names in there, albeit under new guises following the formation of new clubs, such as Hereford FC who will join the competition in the preliminary round on 20 August.
The appeal of the Emirates FA Cup continues to grow, with the competition amassing a total cumulative global reach of 875m last season, up from 828m in the previous campaign. A peak domestic audience of 10.09m tuned into the Final on BBC One, with the combined BBC and BT Sport ratings increasing 14 per cent from the 2015 Final – the highest viewing figures in four seasons.
The unrivalled coverage offered by the BBC and BT Sport continues to enthrall millions across all stages of the competition with last season’s first round tie between Salford City and Notts County – broadcast live on BBC One – enjoyed by a domestic peak audience of 3.49m.
And last season saw a total of £15,132,000 paid to clubs from the FA Cup prize fund, in addition to £10,850,500 from the combined TV and radio payments.