Greek Football Cup
|Most successful club(s)||Olympiacos
|Television broadcasters||OTE Sport|
The Greek Football Cup (Greek: Κύπελλο Ελλάδος Ποδοσφαίρου), commonly known as the Greek Cup or for sponsorship reasons the Football Cup OPAP, is a Greek football competition, run by the Hellenic Football Federation.
Because it involves clubs of all standards playing against each other, there is the possibility for "minnows" from the lower divisions to become "giant-killers" by eliminating top clubs from the tournament and even theoretically win the Cup.
Before the establishment of the Hellenic Football Federation (EPO), some Cup tourmaments had been organised by the Hellenic Olympic Committee and SEGAS. In 1908 winner was the Football Club of Athens (POA, today Panathinaikos F.C.), in 1910 the team of Peiraikos Syndesmos, in 1912 F.C. Goudi Athens and in 1918 Panellinios Podosfairikos Omilos (PPO, today Panathinaikos F.C.).
The Greek Cup under EPO began in 1931. In its early years, entry was optional. Teams were paired against each other by the football associations, without a draw taking place. Later on, for many years, a proper draw took place and two-leg matches were held up to the final. In the 90s, the qualifying matches were played in groups. The winners of the groups played against each other up to the final in two-leg matches.
Until 1964, if the final score was a draw (including extra time), the two teams played another match, while penalties didn't exist. That year, in the semi-final match between Panathinaikos and Olympiacos (final score: 1–1), fans of both teams stormed the pitch, damaged the ground and virtually stopped the game, believing that it was fixed to end in a draw, in order to be replayed for financial reasons.
The next year a new rule was applied, to determine that, if the game was undecided even after extra time, the winner would be determined by the toss of a coin. That rule was abolished in 1969, when the penalty shootout was applied.
Until 1971, teams from all over the country, professional and amateur, had been taking part. Each team first played against clubs from its own association and the winners continued in a nationwide competition. Due to this, strong professional sides met amateur neighbourhood teams, sometimes beating them with high scores; a 23–0 win in an Apollon Athens vs. PAO Neas Melandias match on 23 September 1959 remains a record win for the Greek Cup until today. Since 1971, only teams from the three professional divisions are allowed entry, while amateur clubs take part in the Amateur Cup.
Over the years, the competition has been played under various formats.
In the initial format, one-legged ties were played at the ground of the team as determined by the draw. If the final result between two teams was a draw, the match was replayed at the opponent's ground. There was extra time but no penalty shootout. If teams were still level after extra time, the winner was nominated by drawing lots or toss of coin. From 1969, the penalty shootout was established and the matches were concluded without the need for replays.
For some years of the decades of 1980 and 1990, the First Round was played in preliminary groups, from which 16 teams qualified. These teams continued in knockout format with two-leg ties until the single final match. For two seasons, the Final was also held as a two-legged tie, but then this rule was discarded and the Final reverted to a single match, held in the biggest stadium of Athens or Thessaloniki.
The current format is in effect from 2005, excluding 2009–10 season. For 2011–12, only to Semi-finals will be double matches. This is because the start of the tournament will delay because of court decisions pending for several teams.
First Round: The teams of two groups (North and South) of Football League 2 participate. The matches are one leg and are held at the ground of the team that is fixed by the draw. In case of a draw, there is extra time and penalty shootout if necessary.
Second Round: Teams that have qualified from the First Round face in a single match Football League teams, that now enter in the tournament. The matches are held at the ground of the Football League 2 team, and the draw is organised so that Football League 2 teams do not play each other. There is also extra time and penalty shootout.
Third Round: This round is additional and has only 4 teams that have qualified from Second Round, in order that the teams that continue in the competition become 32.
Fourth Round: Teams that have qualified from both Second and Third Round face in a single match teams of the top level, Super League Greece, that now enter the tournament. The matches are held at the ground of the unseeded team, so teams of the same level are not drawn against each other. There is also extra time and penalty shootout.
Fifth Round: It is also called Round of 16. The 16 teams that have qualified from the Fourth Round make 8 pairs. The home team is fixed by the draw. Once again the matches are single, but now in case of a draw, a replay is fixed at the ground of the first match's away team. If there is no winner after full-time, there is extra time and penalty shootout if necessary. Away goals rule is not calculated.
Quarter-finals: It is also called Round of 8. The 8 teams that have qualified from the Fifth Round make, after the draw, 4 pairs. The pairs of teams play each other home and away. In this case, away goals rule is in effect on the qualification, without however excluding the possibility for extra time or penalty shootout in the second leg.
Semi-finals: They follow the system of the quarter-finals.
Final: The final is single match and there is the possibility of extra time and penalty shootout.
Total titles won by city
11 clubs have won the Greek Football Cup, from a total of 6 cities.
|City||Number of Titles||Clubs|
||Panathinaikos (18), AEK (14), Panionios (2)|
||Olympiacos (26), Ethnikos (1)|
||PAOK (4), Aris (1), Iraklis (1)|