Imps Add Name To FA Cup Government Letter

The anger felt a fortnight ago at the proposed changes to the FA Cup feels like it’s diminished a little over time, but that certainly isn’t the case.

Today, Clive Nates has signed an open letter to Lucy Frazer, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, outlining why the decision to scrap replays needs to be overturned. To recap, the FA and Premier League have agreed to scrap replays from the First Round, with no consultation of member clubs outside the top 20. The argument is set to rumble on, but a number of clubs have signed the letter.

They’ve outlined how fixture congestion isn’t a suitable argument, outlining how Premier League clubs in the Champions League will be expected to play a minimum of 50 matches, whereas League One and Two clubs play a minimum of 51. However, the argument is not just about football matches, as the letter states: “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.”

I’m proud to say that my club has signed this letter. Other clubs adding their names to the dissenting voice include Grimsby Town, Exeter City, Carlisle United, and Accrington Stanley. Former winners AFC Wimbledon and Bolton Wanderers are also on the list, along with non-league clubs such as Maidstone and Dorking Wanderers. In total, 27 clubs have put their name to the words, written in conjunction with Fair Game.

Imps handing out a six-goal betaing to Forest Green in the FA Cup – Courtesy Graham Burrell

“The anger from across all levels of football is huge,” said Niall Couper, CEO of Fair Game. “Sadly, this is totemic of the growing arrogance at the top of the game and the disdain they show for the rest of the football pyramid.

“Our latest research has shown that the gap in and between divisions is widening at every level. The new regulator needs to step in and reverse that damaging trend that is destroying the game’s heritage and turning the pyramid into a greasy pole.”

In addition to the letter, Fair Game’s lawyers have prepared an amendment to section 54(8) of the Football Governance Bill, which seeks to deal with the FA Cup changes and proposed changes to other competitions, by stating that any consultation must include all eligible clubs and demonstrate that a majority of those clubs approve of the change. If the changes were to have implications for distributions of revenues, they would require approval by the regulator.

Clive is Lincoln’s signatory, but of course, it represents the whole club. However, Clive was vocal at the time, stating that this could be a point where clubs in England take a stand.

“The FA is simply not doing the job that it should be doing, which is to do the best for all clubs in the pyramid and beyond,” he told the BBC. “That’s why a regulator is the only thing that can save English football. I think the EFL should react to this decision that they don’t appear to have been involved with. It’s up to clubs and fans. We often hear about the part German fans have in seeing that the game is run in the way they want it. Maybe English fans and we, as lower league clubs, are too passive.

“I hope this is the catalyst for action from lower league and non-league clubs and fans generally to say that this is enough.”