FA And Premier League Discuss Stand Alone FA Cup Final

January 27, 2012

The Football Association and Premier League are in talks to prevent the FA Cup final clashing with league games.

FA general secretary, Alex Horne, stated that negotiations are on-going to avoid a repetition of the fixture pile-up in 2011.

Manchester United secured the Premiership title and three other top-flight fixtures were played on the day Manchester City won the FA Cup.

Horne explained, “We’re talking to the Premier League about whether there’s a way to create a Saturday when the FA Cup can stand on its own.

“We have a situation with international player release, and particularly, in 2013 when the UEFA Champions League final is to be played at Wembley, where we know it can’t be the last game of the season.

“It won’t be the last Saturday of the season but I think we can achieve a situation where it’s on its own on a Saturday and I think it’s important it’s given that space”.

The 2012 FA Cup final is currently scheduled to occur on Saturday, May 5th.

A full calendar of Premier League games is planned for that date as well as for the following weekend; finding space to identify a stand-alone the day for the final may prove challenging.

The Premier League also has a contractual obligation to provide its broadcast partner Sky with a live game at 12.45 BST on Saturday, May 5th, and the Europa League final is scheduled to take place in Bucharest that Wednesday.

Horne also announced that the traditional 1500 BST kick-off time is likely is to change.

“We’re talking about moving [the final] to an early evening slot and I think what that does is enable all of the football that’s played across the country at 3pm on a Saturday not to be affected by the FA Cup final so that the supporters watching and playing in their local games can get back and enjoy the FA Cup or stay in their club houses”.

Horne added, “The FA Cup is a big brand globally, there are half a billion people who watch the FA Cup final played all around the world.

“What’s interesting is that we’re seeing very strong numbers from our overseas TV deals and we need to follow that up with interest and affection for the competition.”

Horne’s comments coincided with a new report from the FA undertaken by Deloitte, which highlighted the potential financial gain to participating clubs.

A total of almost £650m was generated in prize money, TV payments and gate receipts for sides in the 10 years between 2001/02 and 2010/11.

Horne emphasised the boon the tournament can be for lower-league and non-league sides.

“What this report reveals is the huge financial incentives for teams participating in the FA Cup. You only have to look at Crawley Town last season, who earned £1m from a single game against Manchester United, a truly phenomenal amount of money for a then non-league football club.”

“They’re big numbers and they’re not budgeted by clubs as they don’t expect to progress in the competition. It’s a windfall”.