‘Spineless’ – Millwall chief Steve Kavanagh slams FA Cup replay decision

Millwall chief executive Steve Kavanagh has described the Football Association’s decision to scrap FA Cup replays as “incredulous”.

Kavanagh, who is on The Professional Game Board and also the vice chairman of the FA Challenge Cup Committee, has added that he had no advance warning of the move that was about to be taken by the governing body.

He said: “There has been outrage and significant upset regarding the cancellation of FA Cup replays.

“It would appear that the FA Were trying to point a finger of blame at the EFL last night, which is incredulous.

“The agreement is clearly between the FA and the English Premier League. 

“The agreement is clearly to do with easing fixture congestion for clubs who play in Europe – it has nothing to do with the EFL.

“The response of the FA for an insider to name people on FA boards, councils and committees is trying to hide the truth. To think that people are that naive that this is the situation.

“This has nothing to do with the EFL. The FA made it quite clear that the FA Cup is the FA Cup – it’s their product and tournament to manage and officiate.

“If they wish to scrap replays, then that’s their call. 

“The CEO of the FA told me in a meeting that he thought that clubs would agree and be happy that replays would be cancelled. 

“I made it absolutely clear that I didn’t agree with that decision and I told him that I didn’t feel clubs would agree with that.

“The last 24 hours have proven that I was right and that my knowledge of football clearly stretches to all the lower reaches. That includes the National League where, Southend United – a club I used to be chief executive of – sit. FA Cup replays are vital for them.

“Blaming others when you’re not prepared to take responsibility for your own decisions, actions and agreements is spineless, I’m afraid. 

“There were conversations regarding FA Cup replays, but it was all part of redistribution.

“It was a conversation around the calendar – everybody knows there are problems around the calendar.

“It was one of the tools the EFL had in trying to bring the Premier League to reach an agreement and a fairer distribution for the whole of the pyramid. 

“That has now been taken away from us as well. We have been left empty-handed. 

“For the finger of blame to be sent in our direction, and for my colleagues at PGB, is utterly bewildering.

“I’m the vice-chairman of the FA Cup Committee. I didn’t even get a notification on that committee and no conversations took place on that committee regarding this. 

“With the FA now trying to shift the finger of blame, they need to take a long, hard look at themselves to go away and think about whether they absolutely represent the full pyramid.”

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