Explained: how the new-look FFA Cup format changes how your A-League side can qualify in 2021

A shake-up to the FFA Cup format has opened the door for new possibilities in 2021, with all 12 A-League sides competing for just 10 spots in the Round of 32.

The recent additions of Macarthur FC and Western United to the A-League has extended the competition to a 12-team format - but the previous allocation of 10 automatic slots for A-League sides will remain the same in 2021.

That means two must miss out on a spot in the Round of 32 - but how will this be decided? 

In 2021, the top eight sides on the A-League table will be given automatic entry into the FFA Cup. The bottom four sides will then battle it out for the final two spots on offer, with ninth playing 12th and 10th facing 11th. 

That means two of the 12 A-League sides will not feature in the 2021 FFA Cup Round of 32. The dates and times for the two playoff matches are yet to be confirmed.

2019 FFA Cup winners Adelaide United
2019 FFA Cup winners Adelaide United

Once the teams progressing to the latter stages of the competition are finalised, the competition will proceed from the Round of 32 with a new-look format.

The Round of 32 will be split into four geographical zones, with an open draw taking place in each zone, meaning any side within that zone can be drawn against each other.

The competition will then return to a single national draw for the Round of 16, where any of the 16 sides can be drawn against each other.

This differs from past draws in which at least Member Federation club was guaranteed progression to the Semi Finals. The change ensures there's a greater element of the unknown, with the potential for any four sides which progress to the Round of 32 to face off in the Semi Finals.

The Grand Final offers the chance for one team to lift the FFA Cup, and for the first time ever, receive one of Australia's preliminary round slots in the AFC Champions League - subject to the winning club meeting AFC Club Licensing Regulations.

They're the exciting changes bound to offer up drama and entertainment aplenty as the new-look FFA Cup format comes into play in 2021!