CREDITON UNITED FC has condemned “wholeheartedly” changes the Football Association and Premier League have made to the FA Cup. 

FA Cup replays, where a match is played again at the other team’s ground if there is a draw, are to be scrapped from the first round next season. 

All rounds of the competition will also now be played at weekends. 

“We as a club want a fair system in place where if the likes of Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal or any of the other Premier League clubs earn a draw, against us, they should have the opportunity to play us at Lords Meadow in a replay,” a Crediton United FC spokesperson said in a statement on social media. 

“These fixtures create lifelong memories for supporters and players alike. To strip them of this is folly and is a further weakening of the value of our premier knockout tournament.” 

President of Crediton United FC Dave Blanchford also wrote to the Courier, branding the FA a “disgrace to football”. 

He said: “The English FA do not give a fig for the wellbeing of our footballers sitting in their cosy office making decisions that nobody can understand or agree with. 

“Telling all clubs that working lads have got to play three or four times a week is never right to me.” 

The FA has defended the changes, saying it had discussed next year’s calendar with the Premier League and EFL for “well over a year”. 

“Removing Emirates FA Cup replays was discussed in the early meetings and all parties accepted that they could not continue,” a spokesperson said in a statement.  

“The discussions then focused on how to make all of our competitions stronger, despite having fewer dates available and wanting to maintain player welfare. 

“The changes to the Emirates FA Cup achieve this by returning it to a weekend competition on every round.” 

The FA added that there would be more revenue opportunities for clubs in the early rounds, including more matches broadcast and a review of prize money.  

The FA Cup qualifying rounds will still have replays. The fourth and fifth rounds and quarter finals will now be played without clashing with Premier League fixtures, and the fourth round will have an extended window from Friday to Wednesday. 

The FA Cup final has also been moved to the penultimate weekend of the Premier League season.