More Non-League Clubs in FA Cup 1st Round

More Non-League Clubs in FA Cup 1st Round equals more excitement.

Here’s my proposal on how to get more non-league clubs into the 1st Round of the FA Cup. What do you think?




4 thoughts on “More Non-League Clubs in FA Cup 1st Round”

  1. Would be nice to find a way to further expand Cup eligibility down to the grassroots,but the gap between the PL and the League below is also a problem in need of a solution,your Proposal 1 would only make it worse.
    Not sure what the best alternative is,I note that the PL was originally supposed to be reduced in size to 16 clubs but that has never happened.


  2. OK,here’s a counterproposal based on changing the size of the top leagues rather than worsening the unfortunate gap between them.

    Have a cascade year in which only champions go up and multiple low finishers go down,with playoffs replaced by test matches between runners-up and those just above the drop zone in the division above (winner gets place in higher division…if “semis” are needed then have 2nd/3rd place winners play for the right to play the imperiled club from above).

    When the dust clears,the PL is reduced to 18 clubs (halfway to the originally intended 16),the Champs are down to 22 (for many years the size of each FL division),and every league from “League One” down to NPL/Southern/Isthmian Premier is 24.

    For the 3R,we are now adding the 40 top clubs to 24 qualifiers,rather than 44 to 20.
    The 2R is 48 ties instead of 40,which means the 1R joins 48 lower League clubs to 48 non-league clubs.

    The 96 clubs in the 4Q are comprised of 24 Conf National and 72 qualifiers,with the 3Q having 144 clubs emerging from a 2Q in which the now 48 Conf N/S clubs face 240 qualifiers from the 1Q.

    The same 72 regional-league-top-division clubs are exempt to the 1Q,but instead of 160 other clubs chosen in the Prelim rounds there are now 408.

    816 clubs in Pre being 680 to emerge from the EP plus 136 exempt leaves room in the EP for
    basically every Vase-eligible club to enter the Cup as well!


  3. Actually,since there are under 600 clubs a year in the Vase so far…we could even move the 48 Conf N/S clubs to the 3Q,with 96 qualifiers emerging from the 2Q,where the 72 regional top clubs could join 120 qualifiers from the 1Q,where the 136 regional lower division clubs could join 104 from the Pre,and the 208 Pre clubs would be the winners of 416 entered in the EP…about the same numbers as your proposal would yield.


  4. Just cutting the PL to 18 clubs and leaving the Champs numbers alone,cascading to Conf N/S,yields 42 top clubs joining 22 in 3R,44 clubs in 2R,88 (lower League plus 40 qualifiers) in 1R,24 Conf + 56 qualifiers in 4Q,112 qualifiers in 3Q.
    If Conf N/S are now 24 clubs each as before (one addition from above and one below) then
    224-48=176 clubs qualifying from 1Q to 2Q,with the 352 1Q entrants being the 72 currently exempt and 280 from the Prelims.
    560 in the Pre round less 136 exempt leaves 424 to emerge from the EP…286+138,or six more than your proposal.
    If Conf N/S (“Step 2”,tier 6) are left with the odd 23 members each by just having the new slots cascade down and not evening up via promotion from below,then the 2Q has 178 clubs
    qualify from below,with 284 needed to qualify to the 1Q from the Prelims…568-136=432,
    so the EP would have room for 146 from the level now supplying 82.


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