Swindon Town interim head coach Gavin Gunning has criticised the decision to scrap FA Cup replays by the Football Association and the Premier League.

It was announced on Thursday that from next season replays for draws in the FA Cup from the first round will be scrapped, with the games instead being decided on the day.

Following an agreement between the FA and the Premier League which will see the top tier provide an additional £33 million in funding for grassroots football, changes would be made to the format of the world’s oldest domestic football competition.

This was the headline of a series of changes to the competition, which see all rounds played on the weekend, the final being played the week before the end of the Premier League season, and no Premier League games being played on the weekends of the third, fourth, and fifth rounds.

The statement from the FA announcing the decision said: “From the first round proper, the competition will be played without replays. The current format, which has no replays from the fifth round onwards, has been extended throughout the ‘Competition Proper’ in light of changes to the calendar driven by the expanded UEFA competitions.

“This commitment will see increased investment to both the Football Foundation and Premier League Stadium Fund to develop facilities at lower league clubs, improving the playing and spectator experience, as well as clubs’ financial sustainability. The funding will also create more opportunities for people with a disability to play football, and support the ongoing development of the girls' game.”

Many clubs across the football pyramid have criticised this decision, including Accrington Stanley owner Andy Holt and Peterborough United chairman Darragh MacAnthony. 

Gunning followed suit when asked about the decision in his pre-match press conference on Thursday, believing it was a decision purely to the benefit of those at the top of the pyramid.

He said: “It obviously benefits the higher teams, doesn’t it?

“You don’t want to kill the FA Cup off because they are the team that make it.

"When you see the bigger teams going to the so-called lesser grounds and they get knocked out or they have a tough game, that is what makes the FA Cup the FA Cup.

“I am not quite sure I like the idea of it.

“I was at Chesterfield when we played Chelsea, so I know how much money can be made from those FA Cup runs.”

Swindon Town added in a statement: "There are many memories for Swindon Town fans of all ages when it comes to the FA Cup, including in replayed fixtures so to see them be abolished going into next season is extremely disappointing.

"We as a Club encourage those involved in the decision and at the FA to suspend changes immediately until all clubs have been consulted and outcomes can be achieved that support the majority, not the minority, in terms of the competition’s participants. "