NEWPORT County AFC are one of 27 clubs to have called for FA Cup replays to be reinstated in a letter to the Culture Secretary.

Club secretary Gareth Evans is among 11 individuals from Football League clubs, four from League One, seven from League Two, to have signed the letter, which has also been sent to the Premier League, the FA and the EFL.

The group have backed a call from football reform body Fair Game for an amendment to the Football Governance Bill, which would require a majority of eligible clubs to approve the scrapping of replays.

The Football Association announced last month replays were being abolished from the first round proper from next season, in light of calendar changes caused by the expansion of European club competitions.

A number of clubs in the EFL and lower down the pyramid criticised the move - with County boss Graham Coughlan calling it a "disaster for football" - and said they had not been consulted on it.

South Wales Argus: County boss Graham Coughlan talks to Gareth Evans, the Exiles secretary who has signed the letter calling for FA Cup replays to returnCounty boss Graham Coughlan talks to Gareth Evans, the Exiles secretary who has signed the letter calling for FA Cup replays to return (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

The letter to Lucy Frazer, the Cabinet minister responsible for sport, began: “We want to save the FA Cup. The FA Cup is the oldest football competition in the world and the decision to remove FA Cup replays from the first round proper further undermines its prestige and does nothing to help protect our cherished football pyramid.

“The Premier League’s influence in this decision is yet another example of football’s growing divide that has seen the gaps between and within divisions grow at all levels.

“Participating clubs in the FA Cup were not consulted. Our clubs as well as the fans have been let down.

“We are determined to see this decision reversed and fully support amending the Football Governance Bill to make sure such a move can never happen again without the backing of a majority of eligible clubs."

"Go to any club and there will be photos on the walls of great Cup memories, while their fans will be able to recall those magical FA Cup nights," it continued.

"We all remember ties like Cambridge United v Manchester United (2015), Hereford United v Newcastle United (1972), Leeds United v Wimbledon (1975), Arsenal v Leyton Orient (2011), and Watford v Tranmere (2020).

"This whole flawed process has devalued the most prized domestic cup competition in the world.

"It is not just about finances, it is about the power dynamics within football. That needs to be overhauled. Concerns about a packed calendar also do not stand up."

Within the same announcement last month covering replays, it was confirmed the Premier League would provide up to an extra £33million in funding per season to the FA for a minimum of six seasons to further support the grassroots game.

“This decision has become totemic for how the game is being run,” the letter stated.

“Decisions are being made behind closed doors. There is a lack of transparency, a lack of consistency, and a lack of fairness.

“We, the undersigned, call for an immediate reinstatement of FA Cup replays and are encouraging all supporters to lobby their MPs to back the Fair Game amendment.”

Frazer has previously said the decision on replays was a matter for the FA and the football authorities.

The FA said in the original announcement that its Professional Game Board, which features four EFL representatives including its chairman Rick Parry, had approved next season’s domestic calendar, which included an FA Cup without replays.

The EFL said in response: “PGB is there to make technical decisions across the game as opposed to key policy decisions such as competition changes or formats.

“Any decisions taken on the calendar involving EFL representatives are in no way an endorsement of the joint deal agreed between the FA and Premier League that imposes changes to the FA Cup competition format in isolation.

“As part of the discussions the EFL representatives did challenge the position and were told that clubs would be comfortable with no replays. They were effectively advised that, as a result of it being an FA competition, the fixture list needed to be agreed as presented.”


  • Neil Hart, Chief Executive, Bolton Wanderers
  • Nick Hawker, Chair, Exeter City
  • Neil Peters, Head of Business Operations, Wycombe Wanderers
  • Nigel Clibbens, Chief Executive, Carlisle United
  • Clive Nates, Chair, Lincoln City
  • Mick Buckley, Chair, AFC Wimbledon
  • Andy Holt, Owner, Accrington Stanley
  • Gareth Evans, Secretary, Newport County AFC
  • Anthony Hall, Chief Executive, Swindon Town
  • Mark Palios, Co-owner, Tranmere Rovers
  • Jason Stockwood, Co-owner, Grimsby Town
  • Bill Waterson, Co-Chairman, Altrincham FC
  • Neil Pinkerton, Chair, Gateshead FC
  • Damian Irvine, Chief Executive, Ebbsfleet United
  • Simon Gauge, Chair, Rochdale AFC
  • Matt and Julie-Anne Uggla, Co-owners, York City FC
  • Marc White, Owner, Dorking Wanderers
  • Geoff Thompson, Chair, South Shields FC
  • Mike Vickers, Director, Chester FC
  • David Johnston, Chief Executive, Darlington FC
  • Stephen Cleeve, Co-owner, King’s Lynn Town FC
  • Oliver Ash, Co-owner, Maidstone United
  • David Boggins, Chair, Hemel Hempstead Town FC
  • Jack Miller, Chair, Basingstoke Town
  • Paul Leary, Chair, Marine FC
  • Jim Ayres, Business Manager, Salisbury FC
  • Phil Young, Chair, Bury FC