The FA Cup quarterfinals are here, which means that teams are playing for a spot at Wembley. That makes things interesting enough, but this time around the quarterfinals have another wrinkle — new rules.
Starting this season, the FA Cup quarterfinals no longer go to a replay in the event of a draw. So instead of having to wait 10 days and play the match over again, this time at the other team’s home stadium, the spot in the semifinals will be decided by extra time and, if necessary, penalty kicks. All of the pressure is on that one day. That one match. A trip to Wembley on the line.
On top of that, any matches that are tied and go to extra time will present teams with the chance to use a fourth substitution. The International Football Association Board, which sets the rules for the sport worldwide, gave competitions the option of allowing a fourth sub for any matches that go into extra time and the FA Cup decided to take it up.
So no quarterfinal replays and a fourth extra time sub. The FA Cup has never seen this before, but it’s in play now.