FA Cup

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FA Cup
Thefacup-logo.png
Organising body The Football Association
Founded 1871
Region England
Number of teams 736 (2015–16)
Domestic cup(s) FA Community Shield
International cup(s) UEFA Europa League
Current champions Arsenal (12th title)
Most successful club(s) Arsenal
(12 titles)
Television broadcasters BBC Sport
BT Sport
Website FA Cup
2015–16 FA Cup

The FA Cup is an annual knockout cup competition in English football; first held in 1871–72, it is the oldest association football competition in the world.[1] It is organised by and named after the Football Association, its official name being The Football Association Challenge Cup. For sponsorship reasons, from 2015 through to 2018 it is also known as The Emirates FA Cup. A concurrent women's tournament is also held, known as the FA Women's Cup.

The competition is open to any eligible club down to Level 10 of the English football league system, i.e. all 92 professional clubs (the Premier League and the three levels of the The Football League), as well as several hundred "non-league" teams in Steps 1 to 6 of the National League System.[2] A record 763 clubs competed in 2011–12. The tournament is unseeded, although a system of byes based on league level ensures most competitors enter at progressively later stages. Played over 12 randomly drawn rounds followed by the semi-finals and final, the first six rounds are the Qualifying Competition, followed by six rounds of the Competition Proper, where 32 qualifiers meet professional sides for the first time.[2]

In its current format, the top teams need to win a minimum of six games to win the competition, while the smallest teams require a theoretical minimum fourteen game winning streak to prevail. Post-1920, when the Football League expanded to three divisions, no club from outside the top two divisions has reached the final. Post-1945, no non-league club has reached the sixth round of the proper competition (the last eight/quarter-final stage). In the modern era, as well as who wins, significant focus is given to how far the smaller teams (the "minnows") can progress, and whether or not their cup run includes improbable victories, known as "giant-killings". Accordingly, much attention is given to the draws before each round, particularly for the Third Round Proper, when teams in the top two tiers enter.

Winners receive the FA Cup trophy, of which there have been two designs and five actual cups; the latest is a 2014 replica of the second design, introduced in 1911. Winners also qualify for European football and a place in the FA Community Shield match. Arsenal are the current holders, having beaten Aston Villa 4–0 in the 2015 final to win the cup for the second year in a row. It was their 12th FA Cup title overall, making Arsenal the FA Cup's most successful club ahead of Manchester United on 11.

History[edit]

On 20 July 1871, in the offices of The Sportsman newspaper, C. W. Alcock proposed to The Football Association committee that "it is desirable that a Challenge Cup should be established in connection with the Association for which all clubs belonging to the Association should be invited to compete". The inaugural FA Cup tournament kicked off in November 1871. After thirteen games in all, Wanderers were crowned the winners in the final, on 16 March 1872. Wanderers retained the trophy the following year. The modern cup was beginning to be established by the 1888–89 season, when qualifying rounds were introduced.[3]

Following the 1914–15 edition, the competition was suspended due to the First World War, and didn't resume until 1919–20. The 1922–23 competition saw the first final to be played in the newly opened Wembley Stadium (known at the time as the Empire Stadium). Due to the outbreak of World War II, the competition wasn't played between the 1938–39 and 1945–46 editions. Due to the wartime breaks, the competition didn't celebrate its centenary year until 1980–81; fittingly the final featured a goal by Ricky Villa which was later voted the greatest goal ever scored at Wembley Stadium.[4]

Having previously featured replays, the modern day practice of ensuring the semi-final and final matches finish on the day, was introduced from 2000 onwards. Redevelopment of Wembley saw the final played outside of England for the first time, the 2001-2006 finals being played at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. The final returned to Wembley in 2007, followed by the semi-finals from 2008.

Eligibility[edit]

The competition is open to any club down to Level 10 of the English football league system which meets the eligibility criteria. All clubs in the top four levels (the Premier League and the three divisions of the Football League) are automatically eligible. Clubs in the next six levels (non-league football) are also eligible provided they have played in either the FA Cup, FA Trophy or FA Vase competitions in the previous season. Newly formed clubs, such as F.C. United of Manchester in 2005–06 and also 2006–07, may not therefore play in the FA Cup in their first season. All clubs entering the competition must also have a suitable stadium.

It is very rare for top clubs to miss the competition, although it can happen in exceptional circumstances. Defending holders Manchester United did not enter the 1999–2000 FA Cup, as they were already in the inaugural Club World Championship, with the club stating that entering both tournaments would overload their fixture schedule and make it more difficult to defend their Champions League and Premiership titles. The club claimed that they did not want to devalue the FA Cup by fielding a weaker side. The move benefited United as they received a two-week break and won the 1999–2000 league title by an 18-point margin, although they did not progress past the group stage of the Club World Championship. The withdrawal from the FA Cup, however, drew considerable criticism as this weakened the tournament's prestige and Sir Alex Ferguson later admitted his regret regarding their handling of the situation.[5][6][7]

Welsh sides that play in English leagues are eligible, although since the creation of the League of Wales there are only six clubs remaining: Cardiff City (the only non-English team to win the tournament, in 1927), Swansea City, Newport County, Wrexham, Merthyr Town and Colwyn Bay. In the early years other teams from Wales, Ireland and Scotland also took part in the competition, with Glasgow side Queen's Park losing the final to Blackburn Rovers in 1884 and 1885 before being barred from entering by the Scottish Football Association. In the 2013–14 season the first Channel Island club entered the competition when Guernsey F.C. competed for the first time.[8]

The number of entrants has increased greatly in recent years. In the 2004–05 season, 660 clubs entered the competition, beating the long-standing record of 656 from the 1921–22 season. In 2005–06 this increased to 674 entrants, in 2006–07 to 687, in 2007–08 to 731 clubs, and for the 2008–09 and 2009–10 competitions it reached 762.[9] The number has varied slightly but remained roughly stable since then, with 759 clubs participating in 2010–11, a record 763 in 2011–12, 758 for 2012–13, 737 for 2013–14 and 736 for 2014–15. By comparison, the other major English domestic cup, the League Cup, involves only the 92 members of the Premier League and Football League.

Competition format[edit]

Overview[edit]

Beginning in August, the competition proceeds as a knockout tournament throughout, consisting of twelve rounds, a semi-final and then a final, in May. A system of byes ensures clubs above Level 9 and 10 enter the competition at later stages. There is no seeding, the fixtures in each round being determined by a random draw. Prior to the semi-finals, fixtures ending in a tie are replayed once only. The first six rounds are qualifiers, with the draws organised on a regional basis. The next six rounds are the "proper" rounds where all clubs are in one draw.

Schedule[edit]

Entrants from the bottom two levels (9 and 10) begin the competition in the Extra Preliminary Round. Clubs from higher levels are then added in later rounds, as per the table below. The months in which rounds are played are traditional, with exact dates subject to each year's calendar.

Round[10] New entrants at this round[10] Month
Qualifying Competition[10]
Extra-Preliminary Round - August
Preliminary Round Level 8 clubs August
First Round Level 7 clubs September
Second Round Level 6 clubs September
Third Round none October
Fourth Round Level 5 clubs October
Competition Proper[10]
First Round Level 4 and 3 clubs November
Second Round none December
Third Round Level 2 and 1 clubs January
Fourth Round none January
Fifth Round none February
Sixth Round none March
Semi-Finals none April
Final none May

The qualifying rounds are regionalised to reduce the travel costs for smaller non-league sides. The first and second proper rounds were also previously split into Northern and Southern sections, but this practice was ended after the 1997–98 competition.

The final is normally held the Saturday after the Premier League season finishes in May. The only seasons in recent times when this pattern was not followed were 1999–2000, when most rounds were played a few weeks earlier than normal as an experiment, and 2010–11 and 2012–13 when the FA Cup Final was played before the Premier League season had finished, to allow Wembley Stadium to be ready for the UEFA Champions League final,[11] as well as in 2011–12 to allow England time to prepare for that summer's European Championships.[12]

The draw[edit]

The draws for the Preliminary, First Qualifying Round and Extra Preliminary Round all occur at the same time. Thereafter, the draw for each subsequent round is not made until after the scheduled dates for the previous round, meaning that in the case of replays, clubs will often know their future opponents in advance.

The draw for each of the proper rounds is broadcast live on television, usually taking place at the conclusion of live coverage of one of the games of the previous round. Public interest is particularly high during the draw for the third round, which is where the top-ranked teams are added to the draw.

Replays[edit]

In the qualifying and proper rounds, fixtures resulting in a tie (after normal time) are replayed at a later date; if that replay is still tied, the winner is settled by a period of extra time, and if still necessary, a penalty shootout. Replays used to also be used for the semi-finals and final; ties are now settled on the day, using extra time and penalties.

Until the 1990s further replays would be played until one team was victorious. Some ties took as many as six matches to settle; in their 1975 campaign, Fulham played a total of 12 games over six rounds, which remains the most games played by a team to reach a final.[13] Replays were traditionally played three or four days after the original game, but from 1991–92 they were staged at least 10 days later on police advice. This led to penalty shoot-outs being introduced, the first of which came on 26 November 1991 when Rotherham United eliminated Scunthorpe United.[14]

Qualification for subsequent competitions[edit]

European football[edit]

The FA Cup winners qualify for the following season's UEFA Europa League (formerly named the UEFA Cup; until 1998 they entered the Cup Winners' Cup instead). This European place applies even if the team is relegated or is not in the English top flight. In the past, if the FA Cup winning team also qualified for the following season's Champions League or Europa League through their league position, then the losing FA Cup finalist was given the Europa League place instead. FA Cup winners enter the Europa League at the group stage. Losing finalists, if they entered the Europa League, began earlier, at the play-off or third qualifying round stage.[15] From the 2015–16 UEFA Europa League season, however, UEFA will not allow the runners-up to qualify for the Europa League through the competition.[16]

FA Community Shield[edit]

The FA Cup winners also qualify for the following season's single-match FA Community Shield, the traditional season opener played against the previous season's Premier League champions (or the Premier League runners-up if the FA Cup winners also won the league - the double).

Venues[edit]

Since 2007 the FA Cup Final has been held at Wembley Stadium, on the site of the previous stadium which hosted it from 1923 to 2000.

Matches in the FA Cup are usually played at the home ground of one of the two teams. The team who plays at home is decided when the matches are drawn. There is no seeding system in place within rounds other than when teams enter the competition, therefore the home team is simply the first team drawn out for each fixture. Occasionally games may have to be moved to other grounds due to other events taking place, security reasons or a ground not being suitable to host popular teams. In the event of a draw, the replay is played at the ground of the team who originally played away from home, with extra time and a penalty shoot-out deciding the winner if the replay game also ends in a tie.

In the days when multiple replays were possible, the second replay (and any further replays) were played at neutral grounds. The clubs involved could alternatively agree to toss for home advantage in the second replay.

Traditionally, the FA Cup Final is played at London's Wembley Stadium, however due to extensive redevelopment of Wembley, finals between 2001 and 2006 were played at Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. The final returned to Wembley in May 2007.[17] The Early Cup finals were held predominantly at Kennington Oval in 1872 and from 1874 to 1892; and Crystal Palace from 1895 to 1914. Other early venues include the Racecourse Ground in Derby in 1886; Fallowfield Stadium in Manchester in 1893; Goodison Park in Liverpool in 1894; Burnden Park in Bolton for the 1901 replay; Bramall Lane in Sheffield in 1912 replay; Stamford Bridge from 1920 to 1922; and Lillie Bridge in Fulham, London, in 1873. In more recent times, the memorable 1970 final replay between Leeds and Chelsea was held at Old Trafford in Manchester. This was the only time between 1923 and 2000 that the FA Cup final or the FA Cup Final replay was held at a stadium other than Wembley.

The semi-finals were traditionally contested at high-capacity neutral venues; usually the home grounds of teams not involved in that semi-final. It was common for these venues to be roughly equidistant between the two teams for fairness of travel. Venues used since 1990 include Manchester City's now demolished Maine Road stadium, Manchester United's Old Trafford Stadium, Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough Stadium, Arsenal's former home, Highbury (since redeveloped as housing), London's Wembley Stadium, the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, and Aston Villa's Villa Park in Birmingham. Villa Park is the most used stadium, with 55 semi-finals. The 1991 semi-final between Arsenal and Tottenham was the first to be played at Wembley, as were both 1993, 1994 and 2000 semi-finals. In 2005, both were held at the Millennium Stadium. The decision to hold the semi-finals at the same location as the final can be controversial amongst fans[18] However, starting with the 2008 cup, all semi-finals are played at Wembley; the stadium was not ready for the 2007 semi-finals. For a list of semi-final results and the venues used, see FA Cup semi-finals.

Trophy[edit]

The eventual winners of the competition receive the FA Cup; it is only loaned to the club by the FA, under the current (2015-16) rules it must be returned by March 1st, or earlier if given seven days notice.[19] Traditionally, the holders had the Cup until the following year's presentation, although more recently the trophy has been taken on publicity tours by the FA in between finals.[20]

The trophy comes in three parts - the cup itself, plus a lid and a base. There have been two designs of trophy in use, but five physical trophies have been presented. The original trophy, known as the "little tin idol", was 18 inches high and made by Martin, Hall & Co. It was stolen in 1895 and never recovered, and so was replaced by an exact replica, used until 1910. From 1911 a new and larger design by Messers Fattorini and Sons was used. In order to preserve this original, from 1992 it was replaced by an exact replica. From 2014 this was in turn replaced by another replica, albeit built heavier, at 6.3 kilograms (14 lb), to withstand the increased handling.[20]

The name of the winning team is engraved on the silver band around the base as soon as the final has finished, in order to be ready in time for the presentation ceremony.[20] Traditionally, at Wembley finals, the presentation is made at the Royal Box, with players, led by the captain, mounting a staircase to a gangway in front of the box and returning by a second staircase on the other side of the box. At Cardiff the presentation was made on a podium on the pitch.

Original design[edit]

1871 original[edit]

The first, the 'little tin idol', was made by Martin, Hall & Co at a cost of £20[21] and used from the inception of the Cup in 1871–72 until it was stolen from a Birmingham shoe shop window belonging to William Shillcock while held by Aston Villa on 11 September 1895 and was never seen again. The FA fined Villa £25 to pay for a replacement. Almost 60 years later, Harry Burge admitted that the cup had been melted down to make counterfeit half-crown coins.[22] However, Birmingham detectives noticed discrepancies between Burge's account and the event. Burge stated that he broke into the back of the shop with two others, and even posed for a photo showing how he did this, yet a report at the time in the Birmingham Post described how the robbers had actually broken through the roof of the shop.[23]

1895 replica[edit]

The second FA Cup trophy, used between 1896 and 1910.

The second trophy was a replica of the first and was last used in 1910 before being presented to the FA's long-serving president Lord Kinnaird. It was sold at Christie's on 19 May 2005 for £420,000 (£478,400 including auction fees and taxes) to David Gold, the then joint chairman of Birmingham City. Gold has loaned this trophy to the National Football Museum for public display, although in November 2012, it was ceremonially "presented" to Royal Engineers, after they beat Wanderers 7–1 in a replay of the first FA Cup final.[24]

Current design[edit]

1911 original[edit]

A third, larger, trophy was bought by the FA in 1911 designed and manufactured by Fattorini's of Bradford and won by Bradford City in its first outing. This trophy still exists but is now too fragile to be used.

A smaller, but otherwise identical replica was also made by Fattorini, the North Wales Coast FA Cup trophy, and is contested annually by members of that regional Association.[citation needed]

1992 replica[edit]

The current design of the FA Cup (1992 replica pictured)

An exact replica was made by Toye, Kenning and Spencer[25] and has been in use since the 1992 final. A "backup" trophy was made alongside the existing trophy in 1992, but it has not been used so far, and will only be used if the current trophy is lost, damaged or destroyed.[citation needed]

2014 replica[edit]

The latest trophy, handcrafted by trophy makers Thomas Lyte to replicate the 1911 trophy, was introduced for the 2014 FA Cup Final to replace the 1992 trophy, which had shown wear and tear as it had been used and presented more than in previous eras, when it usually remained in the winning team's trophy cabinets for the most part. The 2014 trophy was built heavier, at 6.3 kilograms (14 lb), than the previous versions to withstand the increased use.[20]

Medals[edit]

Each club in the final receives 30 winners or runners-up medals to be distributed among players, staff, and officials,[26] except that a player receiving a red card is not eligible to receive one.[citation needed]

In 1914 Burnley won the cup and received unique medals incorrectly struck as "English Cup Winners". One is displayed at Turf Moor, within the 1914 collection.[citation needed]

Sponsorship[edit]

Pre-match ceremony of 2010 FA Cup Final showing sponsorship by E.ON

Since the start of the 1994–95 season, the FA Cup has been sponsored. However, to protect the identity of the competition, the sponsored name has always included 'The FA Cup' in addition to the sponsor's name, unlike sponsorship deals for the League Cup where the word 'cup' is preceded by only the sponsor's name. Sponsorship deals run for four years, though – as in the case of E.ON – one-year extensions may be agreed. Emirates airline is the sponsor from 2015 to 2018, renaming the competition as 'The Emirates FA Cup', unlike previous editions, which included 'The FA Cup in association with E.ON' and 'The FA Cup with Budweiser'.[27]

Period Sponsor Name
1871–1994 No main sponsor The FA Cup
1994–1998 Littlewoods Pools The FA Cup sponsored by Littlewoods[28]
1998–2002 AXA The AXA-Sponsored FA Cup[29]
2002–2006 No main sponsor The FA Cup
2006–2011 E.ON The FA Cup sponsored by E.ON[30][31]
2011–2014 Budweiser The FA Cup with Budweiser[32]
2014–2015 No main sponsor The FA Cup
2015–2018 Emirates The Emirates FA Cup[27]

From August 2006 to 2013, Umbro supplied match balls for all FA Cup matches. Since March 2013, Nike has supplied the official match ball.[33]

Records and statistics[edit]

Final[edit]

Team[edit]

Individual[edit]

Ashley Cole won a record seven FA Cup Finals

All rounds[edit]

Cup runs and giant killings[edit]

The possibility of unlikely victories in the earlier rounds of the competition, where lower ranked teams beat higher placed opposition, known as "giant killings", is much anticipated by the public, and is considered an integral part of the tradition and prestige of the competition, alongside that gained by teams winning the competition.[40] Almost every club in the League Pyramid has a fondly remembered giant-killing act in its history.[41] It is considered particularly newsworthy when a top Premier League team suffers an upset defeat, or where the giant-killer is a non-league club, i.e. from outside the professional levels of the The Football League.

One analysis of four years of FA Cup results showed that it was 99.85 per cent likely that at least one team would beat one from a higher division in a given year. The probability drops to 48.8 per cent for a two-division gap, and 39.28 per cent for a three-division gap.[41]

Early years[edit]

The Football League was founded in 1888, 16 years after the first FA Cup competition. Since the creation of The Football League, Tottenham Hotspur is the only non-league "giant-killer" to win the Cup, taking the 1901 FA Cup with a victory over reigning league runners-up Sheffield United: although at that time, there were only two divisions and 36 clubs in the Football League, and Spurs were champions of the next lowest rung on the ladder (the Southern League) and probably already good enough for the First Division (as was shown when they joined the Second Division in 1908 and immediately won promotion to the First.) Only two other actual non-League clubs have even reached the final since the founding of the League: Sheffield Wednesday in 1890 (champions of the Football Alliance, a rival league which was already effectively the Second Division, which it formally became in 1892 – Wednesday being let straight into the First Division), and Southampton in 1900 and 1902 (in which years they were also Southern League champions, proving the strength of that league: again, they were probably of equivalent standard to a First Division club at the time, but Southampton's form subsequently faded and they did not join the League till 1920 and the formation of the Third Division.)

Non-league giant killings[edit]

The most recent example of a non-league team (Levels 5 to 10) beating top-flight opposition is Level 5 Conference Premier side Luton Town's victory over Level 1 Premier League's Norwich City at Carrow Road in the 2012–13 Fourth Round Proper. Prior to that game, the last time a non-league side defeated a top-flight club was in 1989 when Sutton United claimed a 2–1 victory at home to Coventry City.[42]

One of the biggest shocks in the competition's history occurred in 1972, when non-league Hereford United defeated First Division Newcastle United with the equalising goal in the replay, scored by Hereford's Ronnie Radford, being shown regularly when FA Cup fixtures are broadcast.

Some small clubs gain a reputation for being "cup specialists" after two or more giant killing feats within a few years.[41] Yeovil Town holds the record for the most victories over league opposition as a non-league team, having recorded 20 wins through the years before it achieved promotion into The Football League.[43] The record for a club which has never entered The Football League is held by Altrincham, with 16 league wins.

Non-league cup runs[edit]

For non-league teams, reaching the Third Round Proper – where all Level 1 sides now enter – is considered a major achievement. In the 2008–09 FA Cup, a record nine non-league teams achieved this feat.[44] Since 1945, only seven non-league team have reached the Fifth Round Proper (final 16),[45] and none have progressed to the Sixth Round (final 8) – although the 1977–78 FA Cup saw fully amateur team Blyth Spartans take the fully professional side Wrexham to a Fifth Round replay, only to lose 2–1.

Chasetown, whilst playing at Level 8 of English football during the 2007–08 competition, are the lowest-ranked team to play in the Third Round Proper (final 64, of 731 teams entered that season). Chasetown was then a member of the Southern League Division One Midlands (a lower level within the Southern Football League), when they lost to Football League Championship (Level 2) team Cardiff City, the eventual FA Cup runners-up that year.[46] Their success earned the lowly organisation over £60,000 in prize money.

Giant killings between league clubs[edit]

In games between league sides, one of the most notable results was the 1992 victory by Wrexham, 92nd/last in the previous season's league, over reigning league champion Arsenal.

Winners and finalists[edit]

Main article: FA Cup Final

Consecutive winners[edit]

Four clubs have won consecutive FA Cups on more than one occasion: Wanderers (1872, 1873 and 1876, 1877, 1878), Blackburn Rovers (1884, 1885, 1886 and 1890, 1891), Tottenham Hotspur (1961, 1962 and 1981, 1982) and Arsenal (2002, 2003 and 2014, 2015).

Winning managers[edit]

The record for most winner's medals for a manager is held jointly by George Ramsey, who won six with Aston Villa (1887, 1895, 1897, 1905, 1913, 1920) and Arsène Wenger, who has won that many for Arsenal (1998, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2014, 2015).[47]

Doubles/Trebles[edit]

Seven clubs have won the FA Cup as part of a League and Cup double, namely Preston North End (1889), Aston Villa (1897), Tottenham Hotspur (1961), Arsenal (1971, 1998, 2002), Liverpool (1986), Manchester United (1994, 1996, 1999) and Chelsea (2010). In 1993, Arsenal became the first side to win both the FA Cup and the League Cup in the same season when they beat Sheffield Wednesday 2–1 in both finals. Liverpool (in 2001) and Chelsea (in 2007) have since repeated this feat. In 2012, Chelsea accomplished a different cup double consisting of the FA Cup and the 2012 Champions League. In 1998–99, Manchester United added the 1999 Champions League title to their league and cup double to complete a unique Treble. Two years later, in 2000–01, Liverpool won the FA Cup, League Cup and UEFA Cup to complete a cup treble.

Outside of England[edit]

The FA Cup has only been won by a non-English team once. Cardiff City achieved this in 1927 when they beat Arsenal in the final at Wembley. They had previously made it to the final only to lose to Sheffield United in 1925 and lost another final to Portsmouth in 2008. Cardiff City is also the only team to win the national cups of two different countries in the same season, having also won the Welsh Cup in 1927. The Scottish team Queen's Park reached and lost the final in both 1884 and 1885.

Outside the top division[edit]

The final has never been contested by two teams from outside the top division and there have only been eight winners who weren't in the top flight: Notts County (1894); Tottenham Hotspur (1901); Wolverhampton Wanderers (1908); Barnsley (1912); West Bromwich Albion (1931); Sunderland (1973), Southampton (1976) and West Ham United (1980). With the exception of Tottenham, these clubs were all playing in the second tier (the old Second Division) - Tottenham were playing in the Southern League and were only elected to the Football League in 1908, meaning they are the only non-league winners of the FA Cup. Other than Tottenham's victory, only 24 finalists have come from outside English football's top tier, with a record of 7 wins and 17 runners-up: and none at all from the third tier or lower, Southampton (1902) being the last finalist from outside the top two tiers.

Sunderland's win was considered a major upset, having beaten Leeds United who finished third in the top flight that season.[48] Uniquely, in 2007–08 three of the four semi-finalists (Barnsley, Cardiff City and West Brom) were from outside the top division, although the eventual winner was the last remaining top flight team (Portsmouth).[49] West Brom are the only team to have won the FA Cup and earn promotion to the top flight in the same season.

Media coverage[edit]

Domestic broadcasters[edit]

The FA Cup Final is one of 10 events reserved for live broadcast on UK terrestrial television under the Ofcom Code on Sports and Other Listed and Designated Events.

In the early years of coverage the BBC had exclusive radio coverage with a picture of the pitch marked in the Radio Times with numbered squares to help the listener follow the match on the radio. The first FA Cup Final on Radio was in 1926 between Bolton Wanderers and Manchester City but this was only broadcast in Manchester, the first national final on BBC Radio was between Arsenal and Cardiff in 1927. The first final on BBC Television was in 1937 in a match which featured Sunderland and Preston North End but this was not televised in full. The following season's final between Preston and Huddersfield was covered in full by the BBC. When ITV was formed in 1955 they shared final coverage with the BBC in one of the only club matches shown live on television, during the 1970s and 1980s coverage became more elaborate with BBC and ITV trying to steal viewers from the others by starting coverage earlier and earlier some starting as early as 9 a.m. which was six hours before kick off. Nowadays, this continues with Setanta and ESPN having all-day broadcasts from Wembley, but terrestrial TV coverage usually begins two hours before kick off. The sharing of rights between BBC and ITV continued from 1955 to 1988, when ITV lost coverage to the new Sports Channel which later became Sky Sports.

From 1988 to 1997, the BBC and Sky Sports had coverage of the FA Cup, the BBC had highlights on Match of the Day and usually one match per round while Sky had the same deal. From 1997 to 2001, ITV and Sky shared live coverage with both having two matches per round and BBC continuing with highlights on Match of the Day. From 2002 to 2008, BBC and Sky again shared coverage with BBC having two or three matches per round and Sky having one or two. From 2008–09 to 2013–14, FA Cup matches are shown live by ITV across England and Wales, with UTV broadcasting to Northern Ireland but STV refusing to show them. ITV shows 16 FA Cup games per season, including the first pick of live matches from each of the first to sixth rounds of the competition, plus one semi-final exclusively live. The final is also shown live on ITV. Under the same 2008 contract, Setanta Sports showed three games and one replay in each round from round three to five, two quarter-finals, one semi-final and the final. The channel also broadcast ITV's matches exclusively to Scotland, after the ITV franchise holder in Scotland, STV, decided not to broadcast FA Cup games. Setanta entered administration in June 2009 and as a result the FA terminated Setanta's deal to broadcast FA-sanctioned competitions and England internationals.[50] As a result of Setanta going out of business ITV showed the competition exclusively in the 2009–10 season with between three and four matches per round, all quarter finals, semi-finals and final live as the FA could not find a pay TV broadcaster in time. ESPN bought the competition for the 2010–11 to 2012–13 season and during this time Rebecca Lowe became the first woman to host the FA Cup Final in the UK.

In October 2009, The FA announced that ITV would show an additional match in the First and Second Rounds on ITV, with one replay match shown on ITV4. One match and one replay match from the first two rounds will broadcast on The FA website for free, in a similar situation to the 2010 World Cup Qualifier between Ukraine and England.[51] The 2009–10 First Round match between Oldham Athletic and Leeds United was the first FA Cup match to be streamed online live.[52]

Many[who?] expected BSkyB to make a bid to show some of the remaining FA Cup games for the remainder of the 2009–10 season which would include a semi-final and shared rights to the final.[53] ESPN took over the package Setanta held for the FA Cup from the 2010–11 season.[54] The 2011 final was also shown live on Sky 3D in addition to ESPN (who provided the 3D coverage for Sky 3D) and ITV.[55] Following the sale of ESPN's UK and Ireland channels to BT, ESPN's rights package transferred to BT Sport from the 2013–14 season.[56]

BBC Radio 5 Live provides radio coverage including several full live commentaries with additional commentaries broadcast on BBC local radio stations, talksport also hold rights from the 2012–13 season.

Until the 2008–09 season, the BBC and Sky Sports shared television coverage, with the BBC showing three matches in the earlier rounds. Some analysts argued the decision to move away from the Sky and, in particular, the BBC undermined the FA Cup in the eyes of the public.[57]

The early rounds of the 2008–09 competition were covered for the first time by ITV's online service, ITV Local. The first match of the competition, between Wantage Town and Brading Town, was broadcast live online. Highlights of eight games of each round were broadcast as catch up on ITV Local.[58][59] Since ITV Local closed, this coverage did not continue.

ITV lost the rights to the FA Cup beginning with the 2014–15 FA Cup, terrestrial rights will return to BBC Sport, with the final being shown on BBC One while BT Sport hold the pay TV rights. Under this deal, the BBC will show around the same amount of games as ITV and still having the first pick for each round.[60]

Matches involving Welsh clubs are sometimes exclusively broadcast on Welsh language channel S4C, which is also available to view across the rest of the United Kingdom on satellite and cable television, and through the channel's website.[61] A similar arrangement is shared with BBC Cymru Wales from 2014–15, potentially giving the BBC an extra match per round.[62]

Overseas broadcasters[edit]

The FA sells overseas rights separately from the domestic contract.

Territory Current broadcaster(s) Former broadcaster(s)
Australia First Round to the Semi-finals are broadcast exclusively by ESPN Australia; final co-broadcast with SBS. Due to Australian anti-siphoning laws, the FA Cup Final is on a list of sporting events, that must first be offered to national television broadcasters and commercial free-to-air television broadcasters before rights can be acquired by a subscription television broadcaster.
Africa Supersport
Albania Tring Sport, since the 2009–10 season
Belgium Sporting Telenet, since 2012–13 Prime, 2008–09 – 2011–12
Canada Sportsnet World, since 2011–12 Setanta Sports, 2008–09 – 2010–11
Denmark SBS Discovery Channel (Kanal 5, 6'eren, 7'eren), since the 2012–13 season (known as SBS TV until the 2013–14 season)
France beIN Sport, since 2012–13 Canal+, 2007–08, France Télévisions, 2008–09 – 2011–12
India Sony Six
Italy Fox Sports, since 2013–14 SKY Italia, 2008–09 – 2012–13
Netherlands Eredivisie Live, since the 2010–11 season
Russia Russia 2 & Sport-1, since the 2011–12 season
Spain Movistar+, 2008-2012
Sweden TV10, since the 2013–14 season
United States From 2012–13, Fox Sports United States will feature the FA Cup games split between Fox Sports 1, Fox Sports 2, Fox Soccer Plus and the broadcast Fox network, with the Final being on Fox (though subject to local pre-emption or tape-delay).[63]

References[edit]

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  46. ^ Chasetown 1–3 Cardiff.
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External links[edit]