Premier League clubs have been given the green light to field weakened teams in the FA Cup after Football Association chiefs said they would not take action against sides who made wholesale changes.
Top-flight teams’ attitude towards the competition is in the spotlight again after six crashed out at the earliest opportunity over the first two days of third round fixtures.
Bournemouth made 11 changes to their starting XI and lost 3-0 at League One outfit Millwall on Saturday, while Liverpool fielded the youngest line-up in the club’s history against Plymouth on Sunday.
“I think Bournemouth were an outlier. [Manager] Eddie Howe can make his own reasons for it," said FA chief executive Martin Glenn.
“It doesn’t upset me. The Premier League teams really understand the value the FA Cup brings them. It’s good for them because they get noticed and everyone wants to get to Wembley for a special occasion.
“People want to do well in the cup, but the positive side is that all of these bigger clubs have big squads. You want to give people game time and that is really important.
"Rotation is a good thing. Giving a chance for young players to get real game experience is not a bad thing.”
FA Cup prize money set for boost
The FA Cup has also been hit by poor attendances, with just 5,199 in Cardiff to see them beaten by Fulham on Sunday, and only 6,608 at Hull’s win over Swansea a day earlier.
Glenn confirmed that the FA was considering using a new £820m, six-year television rights deal to boost prize money, which could be distributed more equally rather than heavily weighted towards broadcasted teams.
“We’ve sold the international rights for more money, and that’s hopefully going to allow us to benefit smaller clubs,” he added on BBC Radio 5Live.
“Right now it’s a bit of a lottery. One of the things we’re thinking about would be a unity payment, so that everyone would get the same amount.”