LONDON: FA Cup quarter-finals, if drawn, will in future be decided by extra time and then penalties.

Scrapping quarter-final replays has been approved by the Football Association board in a move to ease fixture congestion in the busiest and most pressured stage of the English season.

FA chief executive Martin Glenn said: “This change adds to the excitement of the competition and will benefit the wider game in general.

“In a demanding calendar and with increased pressures on fans, it is important we move with the times and consider innovations . . . While fully respecting tradition and history, this development will help the cup retain its status as a much-loved and world-renowned competition.”

The decision means the last FA Cup quarter-final replay will have been West Ham’s Upton Park clash with Manchester United, which took place on Wednesday, April 13.

But it also clashed with two Champions League quarter-finals, and UEFA is averse to live domestic matches clashing with its highest-profile club competition, meaning that for BBC coverage to go ahead it had to start earlier than usual.

United won that match 2-1, with Marouane Fellaini scoring the clinching second goal as Louis van Gaal’s side cleared a key hurdle on their way to lifting the trophy at Wembley. West Ham’s James Tomkins scored the final goal of the match.

Concerns over fixture congestion in the English game were raised in a Football League blueprint published last week, with proposals to do away with FA Cup replays altogether, and to play entire rounds of the cup in midweek.

For the time being replays will continue to take place in the earlier rounds of the competition.

In 1991, the FA abolished its system that allowed multiple replays in FA Cup ties, with the limit being changed to one replay, followed by a penalty shoot-out if the teams remained tied.

FA Cup semi-final replays were phased out after 1999. Ryan Giggs settled the last semi-final replay with his famous solo goal for Manchester United against Arsenal at Villa Park.