Football: Coca-Cola replays to go

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The Independent Online
Coca-Cola Cup replays will not exist next season following radical new proposals agreed by Football League clubs yesterday.

From the third round all ties will be decided on the night through extra time and, if required, penalties, but the semi-finals will still be over two legs.

The proposals, awaiting acceptance by the Premier League, were agreed at yesterday's AGM of the Football League. Its chairman, David Sheepshanks, said: "It is important to invigorate our primary competition and it should also help fixture congestion at the end of the season.

"Although the final will continue to be played in March, games can be brought forward. We have spoken to Coca-Cola and BSkyB and feel it is now right to propose these amendments."

All seven Premiership clubs in Europe next season are exempt until the third round, which means the only two clubs outside the Premiership given a first-round bye will Middlesbrough and Sunderland.

The League is seeking a chief executive officer and an independent chairman, while it will redraft its constitution to become a market-led body. Administration will continue at Lytham St Annes, but the clubs have agreed to look at the structure of the League - which could mean more clubs in play-offs and some going part-time.

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