|Number of teams||631 (2014)|
|Current champions||Adelaide United (1st title)|
|Most successful club(s)||Adelaide United (1 title)|
|Television broadcasters||Fox Sports|
|2015 FFA Cup|
The Football Federation Australia Cup, commonly known as the FFA Cup, is the main national association football knockout cup competition in Australia. The annual competition is organised by and named after Football Federation Australia. It features all the teams from the top division of the A-League as well as from lower tiers in the Australian league system, including from the National Premier Leagues and other state based leagues. Teams enter the competition in progressional stages, with qualifying rounds used to determine which lower division teams eventually join those from the A-League in later stages of the cup. It is currently sponsored by the Westfield Group and thus officially known as the Westfield FFA Cup.
The cup's inaugural season, took place in 2014 and determined the first FFA Cup Champion. Discussions are required to ascertain whether champions from future editions of the competition will gain qualification into the continental competition, the Asian Football Confederation Champions League.
Australia has a long history of regional and state-based knockout cup competitions. However, a sustainable national knockout cup competition that encompassed clubs on all levels of Australian league system has been hard to realise. Prior to the FFA Cup, the first and only Australian national knockout tournament was the Australia Cup. The Australia Cup was founded in 1962 but was abolished in 1968 after just seven seasons of competition. In 1977 a knockout competition was founded to run in parallel with the now defunct National Soccer League (NSL). The NSL Cup involved Australian association football clubs competing in the then top-flight NSL and clubs from state based competitions. The NSL Cup ceased after the 1996-97 tournament. An A-League Pre-Season Challenge Cup competition ran between 2005-2008 but involved only the teams from the A-League and was not a traditional knockout format.
The FFA Cup was previously scheduled to commence in 2013, though after suffering numerous delays due to FFA's 2012 television coverage deal and rising cost concerns the competition was put on hold. After the signing of the new television deal in 2012, FFA's Chairman Frank Lowy stated that the FFA Cup had been put on hold until 2015 at the earliest. On 13 February 2013 FFA CEO David Gallop confirmed that the FFA Cup was in development but would not commence before 2015 due to priority to the 2014 FIFA World Cup, 2015 AFC Asian Cup and the A-League and National Premier Leagues. Nonetheless, Gallop later stated that he was hopeful the tournament could begin in 2014.
On 29 August 2013, it was announced that a national FFA Cup would commence in 2014, after what would be two years of organising the knock out competition. On 14 October 2013, FFA announced that it had appointed Sam Chadwick as General Manager of the FFA Cup. On 24 February 2014, the FFA Cup was formally launched by David Gallop.
The first ever member federation club to qualify for the FFA Cup was Tuggeranong United from the Australian Capital Territory. Tuggeranong United qualified for the 2014 FFA Cup as the winners of the 2013 ACT Federation Cup. The first games in the tournament proper occurred on 29 July 2014, with four games from the round of 32 played concurrently. On 12 August former three time NSL Champions Adelaide City became the first semi-professional state-league club to defeat a professional A-League club, defeating Western Sydney Wanderers 1–0.
In the event of a match being drawn after the completion of 90 minutes, extra time will be played. If scores are still level following extra time, the tie will be decided by a penalty shoot-out.
A draw for each round will be made from the Round of 32 to the Semi-Finals. Clubs will be allocated into various pots depending on the clubs method of qualification and the specific round of competition. The draw also determines which teams will play at home. If a Member Federation Club draws an A-League team, the Member Federation Club will host the fixture. However if two clubs at the same level are drawn together, the first teams drawn will host.
Unlike "normal" application of seeds where a draw is made to ensure that the top seeds don't meet until the latter stages of the competition, the draw for the FFA Cup is seeded in such a way that it ensures the progression of lesser seeds to generate exposure and revenue for grassroots football clubs. The seeded FFA Cup draw ensures at least three Member Federation Clubs will qualify for the Quarter Finals with one club guaranteed to make the Semi Final.
In order to minimise further impact that hosting the 2015 AFC Asian Cup will have on the 2014–15 A-League season, the inaugural FFA Cup Final will be held as a mid-week fixture on Tuesday 16 December 2014. From the 2015–16 edition of the competition, the FFA Cup Final will be played on a yet to be determined weekend date to emphasise the importance of the Final.
The 32 teams that make up the FFA Cup competition proper are the 10 A-League teams with the remaining 22 teams composed of various semi-professional and amateur qualifiers, referred to as "Member Federation Clubs", from each of the state federations. The A-League clubs enter the competition at the Round of 32.
The number of clubs representing each federation was determined by player registration numbers in each jurisdiction. The Northern Territory will not participate in the inaugural competition, however will be represented from 2015.
Australia is the only country in the AFC Champions League that has more than one spot in the competition and doesn't reward the domestic cup winners with a spot. The FFA Cup winner will qualify for the ACL from the 2015–16 tournament. Unlike the domestic A-League competition, the opportunity exists for the cup winner to enter the Champions League competition in the same season they are crowned FFA Cup winners.
If the cup winner has already earned an Champions League spot, the spot will be given to the team placed highest on the A-League table that has not already qualified for the competition. As is the case in the A-League, Wellington Phoenix are ineligible to qualify for the Champions League should they be victorious in the FFA Cup.
At the end of the final, the winning team is presented with a trophy, known as the "FFA Cup Trophy", which they will hold until the following year's final.
The trophy is a large traditional cup style trophy with an intentional resemblance to the historical Australia Cup trophy which ran from 1962 to 1968. The cup itself is made from silver-solded brass, which is plated with 24 carat-gold and sterling silver. It has two handles which each have the badge of Football Federation Australia inscribed on the inside corners. Also inscribed on the cup is the design of the cup and the words FFA Cup. The trophy features two footballs, one as the base of the cup and the other as a trim, on the very top of the cup lid.
In its inaugural season the FFA Cup joined with an official naming rights partner. In 2014, Westfield Group was announced as the sponsor for the first three seasons of the cup tournament, known for commercial purposes as the "Westfield FFA Cup".
From 2014, Umbro will supply match balls for all FFA Cup matches, and will continue to do so for the first three seasons of competition. The FFA Cup Match Ball, the Umbro Neo 150 Elite, was specially designed for the competition.
In the tournament's first season, 10 matches were broadcast live on Fox Sports. One of which a Round of 32 match, two Round of 16 matches, and all matches from the quarter-finals onwards. In addition, FFA Cup draws from the Round of 32 onwards were also televised live on Fox Sports.
Internationally, at least 10 FFA Cup matches will be broadcast live in Asian nations including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, after a three season deal with TEN Sports in 2014.
|2014||Adelaide United||1–0||Perth Glory||Coopers Stadium||16,142|
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