Football managers in Staffordshire have blasted plans to axe FA Cup replays.
Premier League officials have spoken to the FA with the aim of reducing fixture congestion and with the hope that a winter break can be introduced.
But Peter Ward, manager of Kidsgrove Athletic, and Port Vale assistant Paul Bodin are concerned about the financial implications for lower league clubs.
Ward said: “If you don’t have replays what’s the point in having the game in the first place?
“You go away and you don’t have a replay, or you go to penalties. That’s not the FA Cup.
“The FA Cup is about going away and getting a result, hopefully getting them to your home ground and perhaps making a bit of money out of it. Finances are really important to lower league clubs, the big boys – well they can cope with it, can’t they?
“If they start messing around with it. I’ll be really, really disappointed.”
Like Ward, Port Vale assistant Paul Bodin pointed out the financial incentive that the FA Cup brings.
“You look at the team that beat us, Exeter City, they got a replay against Liverpool which is phenomenal and I think financially it’s set them up for the next couple of years.
“It’s the lifeblood for so many teams, even in the preliminary rounds there is money at stake.
“Many clubs, both in the Football League and at non-league level, will be disappointed if the FA changed it.”
Former Wales international Bodin is also concerned about taking away the tradition behind the cup:
“The non-league clubs who start off in August in the preliminary rounds have a dream of going as far as they can and playing a league club.
“I think if you start taking that aspect away then you start devaluing the cup so I think it’s important that we stick with the history and stick with the values of British football.”
Click below to hear more from Bodin: