Mansfield Town and boss Nigel Clough slam move to end FA Cup replays

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Mansfield Town have slammed the decision to abolish FA Cup replays with boss Nigel Clough labelling it 'a disgrace'.

A Stags statement read: “We were left bitterly disappointed to learn of the decision taken by the FA and the Premier League to abolish replays in the Emirates FA Cup, without consultation of the current 72 EFL clubs.

“As football’s oldest cup competition, the FA Cup has provided some of the game’s most iconic stories and upsets in its 153-year history.

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“Replays have been an important part of the history of the competition, providing lower league clubs with the opportunity of creating lifelong memories for supporters, players and staff.

Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough - FA Cup replays decision is a disgrace.Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough - FA Cup replays decision is a disgrace.
Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough - FA Cup replays decision is a disgrace.

“Moreover, the abolishment of replays has harmful financial effects on the English football pyramid. “Lower league clubs will now miss out on fairytale trips to big away stadiums in replays – removing the potential of achieving more revenue from the reverse fixture.

“As a club that plays its home matches at the world’s oldest professional ground, we are a club steeped in tradition. Tradition is something the FA Cup has always prioritised and something that must be protected.

History has shown that misjudged decisions – made without proper consultation – can be overturned, so we hope that the parties involved in abolishing replays reconsider and reverse the rule change.”

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An angry Clough also said: “I think it's a disgraceful decision and I just don't get it.

“Straight away you have read the EFL have said we were not consulted while the FA and Premier League have said everyone was united on this – somebody is not telling the truth.

“It's no good for smaller clubs. It's all about 10-15 clubs at the moment.

“It's good for those who are in European competitions. But there are 92 clubs in England and only about six in European competitions.

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“For the rest of us, to get a replay can make the difference between a club surviving and not surviving as they won't give us any more money out of the TV deal.

“They won't do that and now they are taking replays away as well.

“It is all being concentrated on just the elite and it's wrong. Football is about more than that.

“I don't know if we can make them change their minds. The Premier League seems to hold all the cards in every single way.

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“You would hope your Lutons and people who have been in the EFL for so long would say – hold on a minute, this isn't right.”

He continued: “It seems to be six or seven powerful clubs that are dictating to the rest of the league.

“When you get a situation like that it's never right.

“I would like to see some of the Premier League clubs coming out - and some of the players as well – saying they would like to have a replay if it means a good financial pay day for a smaller club.

“Some of those players have come through the EFL and understand the lower leagues and how much it means.

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Burnley got a replay against Manchester United and it paid for the ground. They had gone over budget like everybody does and it really gave them the foundation to go on and do what they have done.

“These clubs have got 25-man squads, all on a fortune, can't they get a team out to play in an FA Cup replay?”