Welling United condemn the decision made bi-laterally by the Football Association and Premier League to remove FA Cup replays from the first-round proper of the competition onwards.

The decision was taken without consultation with the EFL, National League or any grassroots club at any level and the club were first made aware of the change via Thursday’s public statement, without prior warning.

The removal of FA Cup replays is another threat to the footballing pyramid and is a move which only serves to protect the interests of those at the very top, with a detrimental effect on those of us who fight to survive lower down.

Furthermore, the club strongly refutes the FA’s claim that the move to scrap replays ‘strengthens the competition’ and would suggest instead that it in fact further devalues what was once recognised as the greatest cup competition in the world.

Welling have a proud history of representation in the FA Cup, with replays playing a big part in some of the club’s most historic and memorable moments during our 60 years of existence. Indeed, the competition represents the best opportunity for non-League clubs to create memories to last a lifetime in large part thanks to the existence of replays, while also providing a vital financial lifeline and source of income.

As such, we call on the FA to reverse the decision and properly consult with the game’s stakeholders.