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FSA meet with FA executives to discuss key issues ahead of 2024/25

A number of FSA members met with FA executives earlier in the month of June and the notes from that meeting have now been released.

An array of key issues were discussed, and this article will take you through the most important ones.

FSA meet with FA executives to discuss key issues

FSA meet with FA executives
FA Chief Executive Officer, Mark Bullingham. Photo by Icon Sport

1. Football Governance Bill

One of the most important topics discussed during the meeting was the delay of the ‘Football Governance Bill', progress on which had been paused due to the general election.

The bill would see an independent regulation body introduced into English football for the first, and as per the official bill, they would “be equipped with robust powers revolving around three core objectives: to improve financial sustainability of clubs, ensure financial resilience across the leagues, and to safeguard the heritage of English football.”

Fans were worried that the bill's introduction would be reliant on the winning party of the election, however, the FA were quick to ease those concerns, explaining that it has multi-party support and has already progressed “significantly”.

2. Refereeing and VAR

VAR
Photo by Icon Sport

The quality of officiating throughout the English football pyramid during the 2023/24 campaign, or rather lack of it, was also discussed at length during the meeting. Unsurprisingly, VAR was at the forefront of those conversations.

Concerns were raised regarding the inconsistent use of the technology during the FA Cup, with many stadiums unable to accommodate VAR in the early rounds. The FA remained vigilant in its stance – VAR will be used when available in the earlier rounds and in every instance from the quarter-finals onwards.

Executives also confirmed that the FA's campaign to recruit more referees had been successful, stating that the governing body now has 37,000 officials on its books compared to just 27,000 the season prior.

3. Changes to the FA Cup

Since the last meeting between the FSA and the FA, the latter had announced its changes to the format and calendar of the FA Cup, which will be implemented for the 2024/25 campaign. A key aspect of these changes was the scrapping of replays in the competition, a development which proved to be highly controversial among supporters.

Given the backlash, fan associates at the meeting enquired about the possibility of clearer communication between the FA and clubs regarding any potential changes in the future to avoid an information gap.

However, the FA insisted that it in fact the respective leagues' responsibility to ensure all information is relayed to the appropriate members of all clubs and that it would be difficult for the FA themselves to consult with over 700 clubs.

The FSA then pushed the FA on the possibility of reinstating replays in the competition's first and second rounds proper, but were informed that the EFL had very little desire for this to happen as fixtures would then clash with domestic and international fixtures.