Premier League chiefs held a two-hour meeting on Monday to discuss potential breaks in the season, FA Cup replays and more with the shadow of another Covid spike looming large over the sport
FA chiefs have agreed to scrap FA Cup replays to help save the Premier League season.
Third and fourth round ties will now go to extra time and penalties as one-off games to help ease the fixture chaos after the surge in Covid cases.
Prem bosses are confident the move will allow the season to carry on as planned without a “circuit breaker” after the 20 top flight clubs held a crisis meeting on Monday.
They are also sounding out EFL bosses to ask whether they can reduce the two-legged Carabao Cup semi finals in January into a one-off tie to give them extra dates to rescheduled postponed matches.
The EFL announced they are also taking a similar stance as they plan to press ahead with their Christmas fixtures in the Championship, League One and Two.
They are confident this week’s Carabao Cup quarter finals go ahead as planned and, like the Premier League, are hoping the Christmas and festive fixtures can be played.
But football is bracing itself for the grim prospect of another potential Government lockdown and having to play games behind closed doors.
That would be unthinkable for the Premier League and another huge financial blow in terms of gate receipts, commercial deals and the TV contract.
But they are determined to press ahead with the festive fixtures despite loud calls from clubs to postpone the round 20 fixtures between December 28-30 which are due to be shown live on Amazon.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp said publicly he would support moving those games as the turnaround from Boxing Day would be too quick and could be dangerous for player welfare, especially with growing Covid cases.
But it did not go to a vote and the overall feeling in the virtual two hour meeting – conducted via Zoom – was that they should play on where possible.
The Premier League have also taken the step of releasing the latest vaccination figures on players with 84 per cent having had at least one jab. They also confirmed that 92 per cent of players and club staff have received either one, two or three doses.