FA Cup

The FA Cup, also known officially as The Football Association Challenge Cup, is an annual knockout football competition in men's domestic English football. First played during the 1871–72 season, it is the oldest national football competition in the world.[1] It is organised by and named after The Football Association (The FA). For sponsorship reasons, from 2015 through to 2019 it is also known as The Emirates FA Cup. A concurrent women's tournament is also held, the FA Women's Cup.

The competition is open to any eligible club down to Level 10 of the English football league system – all 92 professional clubs in the Premier League (Level 1) and the English Football League (Levels 2 to 4), and several hundred "non-league" teams in Steps 1 to 6 of the National League System (Levels 5 to 10).[2] A record 763 clubs competed in 2011–12. The tournament consists of 12 randomly drawn rounds followed by the semi-finals and the final. Entrants are not seeded, although a system of byes based on league level ensures higher ranked teams enter in later rounds – the minimum number of games needed to win, depending on which round a team enters the competition, ranges from six to fourteen.

The first six rounds are the Qualifying Competition, from which 32 teams progress to the first round of the Competition Proper, meeting the first of the 48 professional teams from Leagues One and Two. The last entrants are the Premier League and Championship clubs, into the draw for the Third Round Proper.[2] In the modern era, only one non-league team has ever reached the quarter-finals, and teams below Level 2 have never reached the final.[note 1] As a result, significant focus is given to those "minnows" (smaller teams) who progress furthest, especially if they achieve an unlikely "giant-killing" victory.

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 the Europa League and a place in the FA Community Shield match. Chelsea are the current holders, having beaten Manchester United 1–0 in the 2018 final. Arsenal are the most successful club with 13 titles. Arsène Wenger is the most successful manager in the history of the competition, having won seven finals as manager of Arsenal.

FA Cup
Fa cup
Organising bodyThe Football Association
Founded1871
RegionEngland
Wales
Number of teams736 (2018–19)
Qualifier forUEFA Europa League
Domestic cup(s)FA Community Shield
Current championsChelsea (8th title)
Most successful club(s)Arsenal (13 titles)
Television broadcastersBBC
BT Sport
WebsiteFA Cup
2018–19 FA Cup

History

FACupFinal1905NewcastleVilla
Harry Hampton scores one of his two goals in the 1905 FA Cup Final where Aston Villa defeated Newcastle United

In 1863, the newly founded Football Association (the FA) published the Laws of the Game of Association Football, unifying the various different rules in use before then. On 20 July 1871, in the offices of The Sportsman newspaper, the FA Secretary C. W. Alcock proposed to the FA 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 did not 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 was not played between the 1938–39 and 1945–46 editions. Due to the wartime breaks, the competition did not 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, but has since been replaced by Steven Gerrard.[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

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. Manchester United did not defend their title in 1999–2000, as they were already in the inaugural Club World Championship. The club stated that entering both tournaments would overload their fixture schedule and make it more difficult to defend their Champions League and Premier League 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.[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

Overview

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 quarter-finals, fixtures ending in a tie are replayed once only.[10] 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

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[2] New entrants at this round[2] Month No. of matches
Qualifying Competition[2]
Extra-Preliminary Round Level 9 and 10 clubs August 184
Preliminary Round Level 8 clubs 160
First Round Level 7 clubs September 116
Second Round Level 6 clubs 80
Third Round none October 40
Fourth Round Level 5 clubs 32
Competition Proper[2]
First Round Level 3 and 4 clubs November 40
Second Round none December 20
Third Round Level 1 and 2 clubs January 32
Fourth Round none 16
Fifth Round February 8
Quarter-finals March 4
Semi-Finals April 2
Final May 1

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

The draws for the Extra-Preliminary, Preliminary, and First Qualifying Rounds used to 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. This season 2016/17 the draw for the 1st qualifying round was drawn at a later date as per previous season's later rounds.

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.

Tiebreaking

In rounds up to and including the Fourth Round Proper, fixtures resulting in a draw (after normal time) go to a replay, played at the venue of the away team, 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. Since 2016–17, ties have been settled on the day from the quarter-finals onwards, using extra time and penalties. From 2018–19, Fifth Round ties are also settled by extra time and penalties.

Until 1990–91, 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 for the rounds proper. This led to penalty shoot-outs being introduced, the first of which came on 26 November 1991 when Rotherham United eliminated Scunthorpe United.[14]

From 1980–81 to 1998–99, the semi-finals went to extra time on the day if the score after 90 minutes was a draw. If the score was still level after extra time, the match would go to a replay. Replays for the semi-finals were scrapped for 1999–2000, the last semi-final to go into a replay was in 1998–99 when Manchester United beat Arsenal 2–1 after extra time. The first game had ended in a 0–0 draw.

The first FA Cup Final to go to extra time and a replay was the 1875 final, between the Royal Engineers and the Old Etonians. The initial tie finished 1–1 but the Royal Engineers won the replay 2–0 in normal time. The last replayed final was the 1993 FA Cup Final, when Arsenal and Sheffield Wednesday fought a 1–1 draw. The replay saw Arsenal win the FA Cup, 2–1 after extra time.

The last quarter-final to go to a replay was Manchester United vs West Ham United in the 2015–16 FA Cup. The original game at Old Trafford ended in a 1–1 draw, while Manchester United won the replay at the Boleyn Ground, 2–1. It was also the last FA Cup game ever played at the Boleyn Ground.[15]

Qualification for subsequent competitions

European football

The FA Cup winners qualify for the following season's UEFA Europa League (formerly named the UEFA Cup; from its launch in 1960 until 1998, they entered the now-defunct UEFA 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 or European performance, then the losing FA Cup finalist were given the European berth of the League Cup winners and the League Cup winners will be given the league berth instead (in the Cup Winners' Cup era, teams qualifying for the UEFA Cup via other competitions will be promoted to the Cup Winners' Cup instead). FA Cup winners enter the Europa League at the group stage. Losing finalists, if they haven't qualified for Europe via the league, began earlier, at the play-off or third qualifying round stage.[16] From the 2015–16 UEFA Europa League season, however, UEFA does not allow the runners-up to qualify for the Europa League through the competition.[17] If the winner — and until 2015, the runner-up — has already qualified for Europe through their league position (with the exception of the UEFA Cup until 1998), the FA Cup berth is then given to the highest-place team in the league who has not yet qualified.

FA Community Shield

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

England mai 2007 040
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.

Fixtures in the 12 rounds of the competition are usually played at the home ground of one of the two teams. The semi-finals and final are played at a neutral venue – the rebuilt Wembley Stadium (since 2008 and 2007 respectively).

Competition rounds

In the matches for the twelve competition rounds, the team who plays at home is decided when the fixtures are drawn – 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.

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.

Semi-finals

The semi-finals have been played exclusively at the rebuilt Wembley Stadium since 2008, one year after it opened and after it had already hosted a final (in 2007). For the first decade of the competition, the Kennington Oval was used as the semi-final venue. In the period between this first decade and the reopening of Wembley, semi-finals were played at high-capacity neutral venues around England; usually the home grounds of teams not involved in that semi-final, chosen to be roughly equidistant between the two teams for fairness of travel. The top three most used venues in this period were Villa Park in Birmingham (55 times), Hillsborough in Sheffield (34 times) and Old Trafford in Manchester (23 times). The original Wembley Stadium was also used seven times for semi-final, between 1991 and 2000 (the last held there), but not always for fixtures featuring London teams. In 2005, both were held at the Millennium Stadium.

In 2003 the FA took the decision to permanently use the new Wembley for semi-finals to recoup debts in financing the new stadium.[18] This was controversial, with the move seen as both unfair to fans of teams located far from London, as well as taking some of the prestige away from a Wembley final.[19] In defending the move, the FA has also cited the extra capacity Wembley offers, although the 2013 fixture between Millwall and Wigan led to the unprecedented step of placing 6,000 tickets on sale to neutral fans after the game failed to sell out.[20] A fan poll by The Guardian in 2013 found 86% opposition to Wembley semi-finals.[20]

Final

The final has been played at the rebuilt Wembley Stadium since it opened, in 2007.[21] The rebuilding process meant that between 2001 and 2006 they were hosted at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff in Wales. Prior to rebuilding, the final was hosted by the original Wembley Stadium since it opened in 1923 (being originally named the Empire Stadium). One exception to this 78 year series of Empire Stadium finals (including five replays) was the 1970 replay between Leeds and Chelsea, held at Old Trafford in Manchester.

In the 51 years prior to the Empire Stadium opening, the final (including 8 replays) was held in a variety of locations, predominantly in London, and mainly at the Kennington Oval and then Crystal Palace. It was played 22 times at The Oval (the inaugural competition in 1872, and then all but two times until 1892). After The Oval, Crystal Palace hosted 21 finals from 1895 to 1914, broken up by four replays elsewhere. The other London venues were Stamford Bridge from 1920 to 1922 (the last three finals before the move to Empire Stadium); and the University of Oxford's Lillie Bridge in Fulham for the second ever final, in 1873. The other venues used sparingly in this period were all outside of London, as follows:

Artificial turf

The FA permitted artificial turf (3G) pitches in all rounds of the competition from the 2014–15 edition and beyond.[22] Under the 2015–16 rules, the pitch must be of FIFA One Star quality, or Two Star for ties if they involve one of the 92 professional clubs.[2] This followed approval two years previously for their use in the qualifying rounds only – if a team with a 3G pitch progressed to the competition proper, they had to switch their tie to the ground of another eligible entrant with a natural grass pitch.[23] Having been strong proponents of the surface, the first match in the proper rounds to be played on a 3G surface was a televised first round replay at Maidstone United's Gallagher Stadium on 20 November 2014.[24]

Trophy

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 1 March, or earlier if given seven days’ notice.[2] 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.[25]

The King George V presents the FA Cup 1914
King George V presents the FA Cup trophy to Tommy Boyle of Burnley F.C., April 1914

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. The FA decided to change the design after the 1909 winners, Manchester United, made their own replica, leading the FA to realise they did not own the copyright.[26] This new, larger design was by Fattorini and Sons, and was used from 1911.[26] In order to preserve this original, from 1992 it was replaced by an exact replica, although this had to be replaced after just over two decades, after showing wear and tear from being handled more than in previous eras. This third replica, first used in 2014, was built heavier to withstand the increased handling.[25] Of the four surviving trophies, only the 1895 replica has entered private ownership.[27]

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.[25] This means the engraver has just five minutes to perform a task which would take 20 under normal conditions, although time is saved by engraving the year on during the match, and sketching the presumed winner.[28] During the final, the trophy is decorated with ribbons in the colours of both finalists, with the loser's ribbons being removed at the end of the game.[29] The tradition of tying ribbons started after Tottenham Hotspur won the 1901 FA Cup Final and the wife of a Spurs director decided to tie blue and white ribbons to the handles of the cup.[30] 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.

The tradition of presenting the trophy immediately after the game did not start until the 1882 final; after the first final in 1872 the trophy was not presented to the winners, Wanderers, until a reception held four weeks later in the Pall Mall Restaurant in London.[31] Under the original rules, the trophy was to be permanently presented to any club which won the competition three times, although when inaugural winners Wanderers achieved this feat by the 1876 final, the rules were changed by FA Secretary CW Alcock (who was also captain of Wanderers in their first victory).[32]

Portsmouth F.C. have the distinction of being the football club which has held the FA Cup trophy for the longest uninterrupted period - seven years. Portsmouth had defeated Wolverhampton Wanderers 4–1 in the 1939 FA Cup Final and were awarded the trophy as 1938-1939 FA Cup Champions. But with the outbreak of World War II in September 1939, the regular Football League and FA Cup competitions for the 1939-40 season were cancelled for the duration of the war. Portsmouth's manager Jack Tinn was rumoured to have kept the FA Cup trophy 'safe under his bed' throughout the duration of the war, but this is an urban myth. Because the naval city of Portsmouth was a primary strategic military target for German Luftwaffe bombing, the FA Cup trophy was actually taken ten miles to the north of Portsmouth, to the nearby Hampshire village of Lovedean, and there it resided in a quaint thatched roof country pub called The Bird in Hand for the seven years of the war.[33] After the conclusion of World War II, the FA Cup trophy was presented back to the Football Association by Portsmouth F.C. in time for the 1946 FA Cup Final.

Original design

1871 original

The first trophy, the 'little tin idol', was made by Martin, Hall & Co at a cost of £20[34] 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. Despite a £10 reward for information, the crime was never solved. As it happened while it was in their care, the FA fined Villa £25 to pay for a replacement.

Just over 60 years later, 80 year old career criminal Henry (Harry) James Burge claimed to have committed the theft, confessing to a newspaper, with the story being published in the Sunday Pictorial newspaper on 23 February 1958. He claimed to have carried out the robbery with two other men, although when discrepancies with a contemporaneous report in the Birmingham Post newspaper (the crime pre-dated written police reports) in his account of the means of entry and other items stolen, detectives decided there was no realistic possibility of a conviction and the case was closed. Burge claimed the cup had been melted down to make counterfeit half-crown coins, which matched known intelligence of the time, in which stolen silver was being used to forge coins which were then laundered through betting shops at a local racecourse, although Burge had no past history of forgery in a record of 42 previous convictions for which he had spent 42 years in prison. He had been further imprisoned in 1957 for seven years for theft from cars. Released in 1961, he died in 1964.[35]

1895 replica

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

After being rendered obsolete by the redesign, the 1895 replica was presented in 1910 to the FA's long-serving president Lord Kinnaird.[26] Kinnaird died in 1923, and his family kept it in their possession, out of view, until putting it up for auction in 2005.[36] It was duly sold at Christie's auction house on 19 May 2005 for £420,000 (£478,400 including auction fees and taxes).[26] The sale price set a new world record for a piece of football memorabilia, surpassing the £254,000 paid for the Jules Rimet World Cup Trophy in 1997.[27] The successful bidder was David Gold, the then joint chairman of Birmingham City; claiming the FA and government were doing nothing proactive to ensure the trophy remained in the country, Gold stated his purchase was motivated by wanting to save it for the nation.[27] Accordingly, Gold presented the trophy to the National Football Museum in Preston on 20 April 2006, where it went on immediate public display.[36] It later moved with the museum to its new location in Manchester.[26] In November 2012, it was ceremonially presented to Royal Engineers, after they beat Wanderers 7–1 in a charity replay of the first FA Cup final.

Current design

1911 original

The redesigned trophy first used in 1911 was larger at 61.5 cm (24.2 inches) high, and was designed and manufactured by Fattorini's of Bradford, coincidentally being won by Bradford City in its first outing.[25][26]

On the 27 March 2016 episode of the BBC television programme Antiques Roadshow, this trophy was valued at £1 million by expert Alastair Dickenson, although he suggested that, due to the design featuring depictions of grapes and vines, it may not have been specifically produced for the FA, but was instead an off-the-shelf design originally meant to be a wine or champagne cooler.[26]

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[37].

1992 replica

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

The 1992 replica was made by Toye, Kenning and Spencer.[38] A copy of this trophy was also produced, in case anything happened to the primary trophy.[39]

2014 replica

The 2014 replica was made by Thomas Lyte, handcrafted in sterling 925 silver over 250 hours. A weight increase to increase durability has taken it to 6.3 kilograms (14 lb).[25]

Medals

Each club in the final receives 40 winners or runners-up medals to be distributed among players, staff, and officials.[40]

Sponsorship

2010 FA Cup Final banner
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'.[41]

Period Sponsor Name
1871/72–1993/94 No main sponsor The FA Cup
1994/95–1997/98 Littlewoods The FA Cup sponsored by Littlewoods[42]
1998/99–2001/02 AXA The AXA sponsored FA Cup[43](1998–99)
The FA Cup sponsored by AXA (1999–2002)
2002/03–2005/06 No main sponsor The FA Cup
2006/07–2010/11 E.ON The FA Cup sponsored by E.ON[44][45]
2011/12–2013/14 Budweiser The FA Cup with Budweiser[46]
2014/15 No main sponsor The FA Cup
2015/16–2018/19 Emirates The Emirates FA Cup[41]

From 2006 to 2013, Umbro supplied match balls for all FA Cup matches. They were replaced at the start of the 2013–14 season by Nike, who produced the competition's official match ball for five seasons. Mitre took over for the 2018–19 season, beginning a three-year partnership with the FA.[47]

Records and statistics

Final

Team

Individual

Ian Rush, Wales Team, 1988 (1)
Ian Rush, the former Liverpool striker and record goalscorer in FA Cup final history
Ashley Cole Chelsea vs AS-Roma 10AUG2013
Ashley Cole won a record seven FA Cup Finals

All rounds

Cup runs and giant killings

The possibility of unlikely victories in the earlier rounds of the competition, where lower ranked teams beat higher placed opposition in what is known as a "giant killing", is much anticipated by the public. Such upsets are considered an integral part of the tradition and prestige of the competition, and the attention gained by giant-killing teams can be as great as that for winners of the cup.[54] Almost every club in the League Pyramid has a fondly remembered giant-killing act in its history.[55] 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 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 its next 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.[55]

Early years

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 strongest football league – 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

The most recent examples of a non-league team (Levels 5 to 10) beating a Level 1 opponent are National League side Lincoln City's away victory over Premier League side Burnley in the 2016–17 FA Cup and Conference Premier side Luton Town's away victory over Level 1 Premier League's Norwich City in the 2012–13 Fourth Round Proper. Prior to that game, the last time a non-league side defeated a Level 1 club was in 1989 when Sutton United claimed a 2–1 victory at home over Coventry City, who had won the FA Cup less than two years prior.[56]

In the 1971–72 FA Cup, a non-league side achieved a Level 1 giant killing that was voted "best FA Cup tie ever" in a 2007 poll by The Observer newspaper.[57] Non-league Hereford United was trailing First Division Newcastle United 0–1 with less than seven minutes left in the Third Round Proper replay, when Hereford's Ronnie Radford scored the equalizer – a goal still shown regularly when FA Cup fixtures are broadcast. Hereford finished the shocking comeback by defeating Newcastle 2–1 in the match.

Some small clubs gain a reputation for being "cup specialists" after two or more giant killing feats within a few years.[55] 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.[58] The record for a club which has never entered The Football League is held by Altrincham, with 17 wins against league teams.

Non-league cup runs

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.[59] As of the 2016–17 season, only nine non-league teams have reached the Fifth Round Proper (final 16) since 1945,[60] and only Lincoln City have progressed to the Sixth Round (final 8), during the 2016–17 edition of the tournament.[61] Prior to Lincoln's run, Kidderminster Harriers were the last team to reach the 5th round, in 1994, where they had a chance to inflict a giant-killing of their own against a Premier League side. They were drawn at home against West Ham United in Round 5 but lost 0 - 1 in a close game at Aggborough.

Chasetown, while playing at Level 8 of English football during the 2007–08 competition, are the lowest-ranked team to ever 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.[62] Their success earned the lowly organisation over £60,000 in prize money.

Giant killings between League clubs

In games between League sides, one of the most notable results was the 1992 victory by Wrexham, bottom of the previous season's League (avoiding relegation due to expansion of The Football League), over reigning champions Arsenal. Another similar shock was when Shrewsbury Town beat Everton 2–1 in 2003. Everton finished 7th in the Premier League and Shrewsbury Town were relegated to the Football Conference that same season.

Winners and finalists

Results by team

Since its establishment, the FA Cup has been won by 43 different teams. Teams shown in italics are no longer in existence. Additionally, Queen's Park ceased to be eligible to enter the FA Cup after a Scottish Football Association ruling in 1887.[63]

Results by team
Club Wins First final won Last final won Runners-up Last final lost Total final appearances
Arsenal 13 1930 2017 7 2001 20
Manchester United 12 1909 2016 8 2018 20
Chelsea 8 1970 2018 5 2017 13
Tottenham Hotspur 8 1901 1991 1 1987 9
Liverpool 7 1965 2006 7 2012 14
Aston Villa 7 1887 1957 4 2015 11
Newcastle United 6 1910 1955 7 1999 13
Blackburn Rovers 6 1884 1928 2 1960 8
Everton 5 1906 1995 8 2009 13
West Bromwich Albion 5 1888 1968 5 1935 10
Manchester City 5 1904 2011 5 2013 10
Wanderers 5 1872 1878 0 5
Wolverhampton Wanderers 4 1893 1960 4 1939 8
Bolton Wanderers 4 1923 1958 3 1953 7
Sheffield United 4 1899 1925 2 1936 6
Sheffield Wednesday[A] 3 1896 1935 3 1993 6
West Ham United 3 1964 1980 2 2006 5
Preston North End 2 1889 1938 5 1964 7
Old Etonians 2 1879 1882 4 1883 6
Portsmouth 2 1939 2008 3 2010 5
Sunderland 2 1937 1973 2 1992 4
Nottingham Forest 2 1898 1959 1 1991 3
Bury 2 1900 1903 0 2
Huddersfield Town 1 1922 1922 4 1938 5
Oxford University 1 1874 1874 3 1880 4
Royal Engineers 1 1875 1875 3 1878 4
Derby County 1 1946 1946 3 1903 4
Leeds United 1 1972 1972 3 1973 4
Southampton 1 1976 1976 3 2003 4
Burnley 1 1914 1914 2 1962 3
Cardiff City 1 1927 1927 2 2008 3
Blackpool 1 1953 1953 2 1951 3
Clapham Rovers 1 1880 1880 1 1879 2
Notts County 1 1894 1894 1 1891 2
Barnsley 1 1912 1912 1 1910 2
Charlton Athletic 1 1947 1947 1 1946 2
Old Carthusians 1 1881 1881 0 1
Blackburn Olympic 1 1883 1883 0 1
Bradford City 1 1911 1911 0 1
Ipswich Town 1 1978 1978 0 1
Coventry City 1 1987 1987 0 1
Wimbledon[B] 1 1988 1988 0 1
Wigan Athletic 1 2013 2013 0 1
Leicester City 0 4 1969 4
Queen's Park 0 2 1885 2
Birmingham City 0 2 1956 2
Crystal Palace 0 2 2016 2
Bristol City 0 1 1909 1
Luton Town 0 1 1959 1
Fulham 0 1 1975 1
Queens Park Rangers 0 1 1982 1
Brighton & Hove Albion 0 1 1983 1
Watford 0 1 1984 1
Middlesbrough 0 1 1997 1
Millwall 0 1 2004 1
Stoke City 0 1 2011 1
Hull City 0 1 2014 1
  1. ^ Sheffield Wednesday's total includes two wins and one defeat under the earlier name of The Wednesday.
  2. ^ Wimbledon relocated in 2004 from south London to Milton Keynes rebranding the club as Milton Keynes Dons, but the current incarnation of the club considers that it was founded in 2004 and does not lay claim to the history or honours (including the FA Cup win) of Wimbledon.[64]

Consecutive winners

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

The record for most winner's medals for a manager is held by Arsène Wenger, who has won seven titles with Arsenal (1998, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2014, 2015, 2017).

Doubles/Trebles

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 England

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

Since the creation of the Football League in 1888, the final has never been contested by two teams from outside the top division, and there have only been eight winners who were not 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 since the League's creation. 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, then in the Southern League) being the last finalist from outside the top two tiers.

Sunderland's win in 1973 was considered a major upset, having beaten Leeds United who finished third in the top flight that season.[65], as was West Ham's victory over Arsenal in 1980 as the Gunners were in their third successive FA Cup Final and were also the cup holders from the previous year as well as just having finished 4th in the First Division, whereas West Ham had ended the season 7th in Division 2. This also marked the last time (as of 2018-19) a team from outside the top division won the FA cup. Uniquely, in 2008 three of the four semi-finalists (Barnsley, Cardiff City and West Bromwich) were from outside the top division, although the eventual winner was the last remaining top-flight team, Portsmouth.[66] West Bromwich (1931) are the only team to have won the FA Cup and earned promotion to the top flight in the same season; whereas Wigan Athletic (2013) are the only team to have won the Cup and been relegated from the top flight in the same season.

Media coverage

Domestic broadcasters

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. 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.[67] 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.[68] The 2009–10 First Round match between Oldham Athletic and Leeds United was the first FA Cup match to be streamed online live.[69]

Many 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. ESPN took over the package Setanta held for the FA Cup from the 2010–11 season.[70] The 2011 final was also shown live on Sky 3D in addition to ESPN (who provided the 3D coverage for Sky 3D) and ITV.[71] 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.[72]

BBC Radio 5 Live and Talksport provides radio coverage including several full live commentaries per round, with additional commentaries broadcast on BBC Local Radio.

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.

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.[73][74] 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 number of games as ITV and still having the first pick for each round.[75]

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.[76] A similar arrangement is shared with BBC Cymru Wales from 2014–15, potentially giving the BBC an extra match per round.[77]

Overseas broadcasters

The FA sells overseas rights separately from the domestic contract.

Territory Current broadcaster(s) Former broadcaster(s)
Australia In 2018 the first round to the Semi-finals were 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. 2019 broadcasters are not yet announced.
Africa Supersport, since 2015–16
Albania Tring Sport, since 2009–10
Belgium Eleven Sports Network, since 2015–2016 Prime (2008–09 until 2011–12)
Austria DAZN, since 2018–19
Brazil ESPN Brasil (????–?? until 2017–18)
Germany SPORT1 (2003–04 until 2013–14),
Italy SKY Italia (2003–04 until 2011–12), Mediaset Premium (2012–13), Fox Sports (2013-14 until 2017-18)
Japan
Spain Movistar+ (2008–2012), Teledeporte (2016–17)[78]
Switzerland
Canada Sportsnet World, since 2011–12 Setanta Sports, (2008–09 until 2010–11)
Denmark Kanal 5, 6'eren since 2012–13 7'eren (2012–13 and 2013–14)
Eurosport since 2012–13 (DEN) 2018–19 (SWE)
Sweden TV10, (2013–14 until 2017–18)
France beIN Sport, since 2012–13 Canal+ (2007–08), France Télévisions (2008–09 until 2011–12)
India Sony Six & Sony ESPN, since 2012–13
Indonesia beIN Sports, since 2013–14 until 2015–16, returned in 2018–19[79] SCTV (1993–94 until 1997–98 and final four only in 2013–14 until 2015–16), Super Soccer TV (2016–17 and 2017–18)
Netherlands Ziggo Sport, since 2018–19 FOX Sports, (2010–11 until 2017–18)
Russia Match TV, since 2015–16
United States ESPN, since 2018–19 Fox Sports (???–2018)

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Notes

  1. ^ Since 1920, when the Football League expanded to three divisions, no club from outside the top two divisions has reached the final. Since 1914, when QPR reached the fourth round proper (the last eight/quarter-final stage), the only non-league club to have reached that stage is Lincoln City in 2017.

External links

1983 FA Cup Final

The 1983 FA Cup Final was contested by Manchester United and Brighton & Hove Albion at Wembley Stadium.

Manchester United were the favourites, as Brighton had been relegated from the First Division that season, and had never reached a cup final before. United had finished third in the league that season and already had four FA Cup victories to their name.

The final ended in a 2–2 draw, forcing a replay at Wembley five days later, which Manchester United won 4–0.

1984 FA Cup Final

The 1984 FA Cup Final was contested by Everton and Watford at Wembley. Everton won 2–0, with one goal by Graeme Sharp and a controversial goal from Andy Gray. He was adjudged by many to have fouled the Watford goalkeeper Steve Sherwood by heading the ball from Sherwood's hands. Everton had reached the final seven times previously, winning in 1906, 1933 and 1966. This was Watford's first FA Cup Final appearance.

With the exception of Andy Gray (who had been a Football League Cup winner earlier in his career with Aston Villa and then Wolverhampton Wanderers), this was the first major honour that any of the Everton players in this match had collected. It also ended Everton's 14-year wait for a trophy and was the first of eight honours they would win over the next four seasons. The period would prove to be the most successful spell in the club's history.

The closest Watford came to scoring was inside the first three minutes when John Barnes miscued a shot on the Everton goal, while Les Taylor's 25-yard shot went wide and Mo Johnston had a narrow miss with a header.

2006–07 FA Cup

The 2006–07 FA Cup (known as The FA Cup sponsored by E.ON for sponsorship reasons) was the 126th staging of the world's oldest football knockout competition; FA Cup. This season's edition was the first to be sponsored by E.ON.

The competition started on 18 August 2006 with the first of the record number of 687 teams entering in the Extra Preliminary Round and concluded on 19 May 2007 with the Final, held at the new Wembley Stadium.For information on the matches played from the Extra Preliminary Round to the final Qualifying Round, see FA Cup 2006-07 Qualifying Rounds.

Chelsea claimed this season's FA Cup with a hard-fought 1–0 victory over Manchester United, with Didier Drogba scoring the winning goal in the dying minutes of extra-time. Manchester United had played against top-flight opponents in each round, as they had when they won the Cup in 1948.

2007–08 FA Cup

The 2007–08 FA Cup (known as The FA Cup sponsored by E.ON for sponsorship reasons) was the 127th season of the world's oldest football knockout competition, the FA Cup. A record 731 clubs' entries were accepted for the competition.

The competition culminated with the final held at Wembley Stadium, London on 17 May 2008. The match was contested by Portsmouth and Cardiff City, with Portsmouth taking the title 1–0, Nwankwo Kanu scoring the winning goal.

The appearance in the Cup Final by Cardiff City, a Level 2 team, marked the second time in 5 years that a team outside Level 1 of the English football pyramid appeared in the final game.

This was the last FA Cup to be broadcast by the BBC and Sky Sports in the United Kingdom, before coverage was handed over to ITV and Setanta starting in August 2008.

2008 FA Cup Final

The 2008 FA Cup Final was a football match held at Wembley Stadium on 17 May 2008 and was the final match of the 2007–08 FA Cup competition. The match was the 127th FA Cup Final, and the second to be held at the new Wembley Stadium since its redevelopment. The match was contested by Portsmouth and Cardiff City, with Portsmouth winning 1–0. This was the first time that the two sides have ever met in the competition. Both teams were aiming to win the FA Cup for the second time, Cardiff having won it in 1927 and Portsmouth in 1939. Had Cardiff won, they would have been the first club from outside the top division of English football to have won the competition since West Ham United in 1980. The match had an attendance of 89,874, a record which still stands as the largest ever for an FA Cup Final at the new Wembley Stadium.

For winning the competition, Portsmouth received £1 million in prize money, as well as qualification to the 2008–09 UEFA Cup, their first foray into European football. It was suggested prior to the game that Cardiff City would not have been allowed to compete in the UEFA Cup had they beaten Portsmouth, as Football Association (FA) regulations previously meant Welsh clubs were ineligible for European competitions even if they won the FA Cup or League Cup, prompting UEFA to offer the possibility of Cardiff filling a wild-card slot in the UEFA Cup. However, the FA later issued a statement saying they would give their permission for Cardiff to participate in the UEFA Cup as one of England's representatives in the competition. As in the preceding few years, the players voted Player of the Round in every round from the First Qualifying Round to the Semi-finals were present and given VIP hospitality for themselves and a guest.The FA announced that, before the game began, the Welsh national anthem, "Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau", would be played, along with the traditional "God Save the Queen" and "Abide with Me". The Welsh anthem was sung by Katherine Jenkins, while Lesley Garrett sang "God Save the Queen" and the two duetted on "Abide with Me".

2009–10 FA Cup

The 2009–10 FA Cup (known as The FA Cup sponsored by E.ON for sponsorship reasons) was the 129th season of the world's oldest football knockout competition; the FA Cup. As in the previous year, 762 clubs were accepted for the competition. One club, Newcastle Blue Star, folded before the fixtures were released. As they were scheduled to enter the competition in the First Round Qualifying, their opponents in this round received a walkover.

The competition commenced on 15 August 2009 with the Extra Preliminary Round and concluded on 15 May 2010 with the Final, held at Wembley Stadium. The final was contested by 2009 winners Chelsea and 2008 winners Portsmouth. Originally, the winners were to qualify for the play-off round of the 2010–11 UEFA Europa League. However, as Chelsea won the 2009–10 Premier League (and did not need the FA Cup winners' berth), and Portsmouth failed to apply for a UEFA licence for the 2010–11 season in time (making them ineligible to compete in UEFA competitions), the berth was given to Liverpool, the seventh-placed team in the Premier League. Chelsea won 1–0 in the final to retain the trophy.

2011–12 FA Cup

The 2011–12 FA Cup (also known as The FA Cup with Budweiser for sponsorship reasons) was the 131st season of the world's oldest football knock-out competition, the FA Cup. The closing date for applications was 1 April 2011, and saw 825 clubs apply to enter. On 8 July 2011, the FA announced that 763 clubs had been accepted, which remains, as of 2016-17, the record number of entrants. The final was played on 5 May 2012 at Wembley Stadium. Chelsea won their 4th title in 6 years, and seventh overall, with a 2-1 victory over Liverpool.This is the first season that the tournament is sponsored by Budweiser. The defending champions, Manchester City, were defeated 3–2 by their rivals Manchester United in the Third Round.

The competition was overshadowed by the collapse of Bolton Wanderers midfielder Fabrice Muamba during their Sixth Round match with Tottenham Hotspur. Muamba went into cardiac arrest on the pitch and, following failed attempts to resuscitate him, was taken to the London Chest Hospital, where he went on to recover despite his heart stopping for over 75 minutes. The match was subsequently abandoned. On 27 March the match was replayed, with Tottenham winning 3–1. Muamba attended the final to congratulate Chelsea.

The winners of the competition would have earned a place in the group stage of the 2012–13 UEFA Europa League. However, since Chelsea went on to win the 2011–12 UEFA Champions League, they qualified for the 2012–13 UEFA Champions League as the title holders. The FA Cup berth for European qualification was not exercised as runners-up Liverpool had already won that season's League Cup and Tottenham Hotspur, the fourth-place finishers in the Premier League, lost their Champions League spot at the expense of sixth-placed Chelsea, as no association was allowed more than four entrants in the competition at the time and so were compensated by UEFA with a place in the Europa League group stage.

2017–18 FA Cup

The 2017–18 FA Cup (also known as the FA Challenge Cup) was the 137th edition of the oldest recognised football tournament in the world. It was sponsored by Emirates, and known as The Emirates FA Cup for sponsorship purposes. 737 clubs were accepted into the tournament. It began with the Extra Preliminary Round on 5 August 2017, and concluded with the final on 19 May 2018. The winners qualified for the 2018–19 UEFA Europa League group stage.

The third round match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Crystal Palace on 8 January 2018 was the first competitive game in England where video assistant referee (VAR) technology was available, although it was not used.Kelechi Iheanacho of Leicester City became the first player to score a goal awarded by a video assistant referee (VAR) in competitive English football as Leicester beat Fleetwood Town 2–0 in the FA Cup third-round replay on 16 January 2018. Referee Jon Moss initially disallowed the goal for offside but he consulted with video official Mike Jones, who told him Nathan Pond's trailing foot was keeping Iheanacho onside. The goal was awarded 67 seconds after it hit the back of the net.

Craig Pawson became the first referee in English football to watch a video recording at the sideline in the fourth round tie between Liverpool and West Bromwich Albion on 27 January 2018. He awarded a penalty to Liverpool.

Premier League side Arsenal were the defending champions, but they were eliminated by Nottingham Forest in the third round on 7 January 2018.

2018 FA Cup Final

The 2018 FA Cup Final was the final match of the 2017–18 FA Cup and the 137th final of the FA Cup, the world's oldest football cup competition. It was played at Wembley Stadium in London, England on 19 May 2018 between Manchester United and Chelsea. It was the second successive final for Chelsea following their defeat by Arsenal the previous year.

As winners, Chelsea qualified for the group stage of the 2018–19 UEFA Europa League, although they had qualified for that phase already via their league position. Chelsea also earned the right to play 2017–18 Premier League champions Manchester City for the 2018 FA Community Shield.

The teams had met twice before in the FA Cup Final, winning one each between them. The first was in 1994, which Manchester United won 4–0, and most recently in 2007, when Chelsea – then managed by the incumbent Manchester United boss José Mourinho – won 1–0 after extra time.

On 24 April 2018, it was announced that Michael Oliver would officiate the match. It was notable for being the first Final to use the video assistant referee (VAR) system. As President of the Football Association, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge would normally attend the final, presenting the trophy to the winning captain at the conclusion of the game. In 2018 however, the final was scheduled for the same day as his brother's wedding, for which he was serving as best man. It was announced on 15 May 2018 that the trophy would be presented by Jackie Wilkins, the widow of former Manchester United and Chelsea player Ray Wilkins, who died in April 2018.

2018–19 FA Cup

The 2018–19 FA Cup (also known as the Football Association Challenge Cup) is the 138th edition of the oldest football tournament in the world. It is sponsored by Emirates and known as The Emirates FA Cup for sponsorship purposes. It started with the Extra Preliminary Round on the weekend of 11 August 2018 and will conclude with the final on 18 May 2019. The winner will qualify for the 2019–20 UEFA Europa League group stage.

Premier League side Chelsea were the defending champions, but they were eliminated by Manchester United in the fifth round on 18 February 2019 in a rematch of the previous year's final.

2019 FA Cup Final

The 2019 FA Cup Final will be the final match of the 2018–19 FA Cup and the 138th final of the FA Cup. It will be played at Wembley Stadium, London, England on 18 May 2019. The match will be contested by Manchester City and Watford. The winners will enter the group stage of the 2019–20 UEFA Europa League.This match is the fourth time that the two teams have been drawn against each other—although the first, in the 1985–86 season, involved two replays—and the first time in which they have played against each other later than the Fourth Round. Manchester City have won two of their previous meetings and Watford one. Manchester City have reached the FA Cup final for the eleventh time, whereas Watford will be making only their second appearance in the final.The game will be broadcast live in the United Kingdom by both BBC and BT Sport. BBC One provided the free-to-air coverage and BT Sport 2 was the pay-TV alternative.

Chinese FA Cup

The Chinese FA Cup (Chinese: 中国足协杯) is the national knockout cup competition in China organized by the Chinese Football Association.

FA Cup Final

The FA Cup Final, commonly referred to in England as just the Cup Final, is the last match in the Football Association Challenge Cup. It is one of the most attended domestic football events in the world, with an official attendance of 89,472 at the 2017 final. The match is the culmination of a knockout competition among clubs belonging to The Football Association in England, although Scottish and Irish teams competed in the early years and Welsh teams regularly compete, with Cardiff City winning the Cup in 1927 and reaching the final in 1925 and 2008.

As of 2018, 137 FA Cup Finals have been played. The latest final was held on 19 May 2018 at Wembley Stadium and was contested between Manchester United and Chelsea, with Chelsea winning 1–0.

FA Cup semi-finals

The FA Cup semi-finals are played to determine which teams will contest the FA Cup Final. They are the penultimate phase of the FA Cup, the oldest football tournament in the world.

Korean FA Cup

The Korean FA Cup is a national cup knockout competition involving K League 1, K League 2, National League, K3 League Advanced, K3 League Basic, and various amateur and university-level clubs, which is held annually by the Korea Football Association (KFA).

Its previous format began in 1921, as the All Joseon Football Tournament (1921–1940) and became the National Football Championship (1946–2000), but the FA Cup in it present format began in 1996. The KFA merged its cup competition with the FA Cup in 2000. The winner gains entry to the Asian Champions League.

List of FA Cup Finals

The Football Association Challenge Cup, commonly known as the FA Cup, is a knockout competition in English football, organised by and named after The Football Association (the FA). It is the oldest existing football competition in the world, having commenced in the 1871–72 season. The tournament is open to all clubs in the top 10 levels of the English football league system, although a club's home stadium must meet certain requirements prior to entering the tournament. The competition culminates at the end of the league season (usually in May) with the FA Cup Final, officially named The Football Association Challenge Cup Final Tie, which has traditionally been regarded as the showpiece finale of the English football season.The vast majority of FA Cup Final matches have been in London: most of these were played at the original Wembley Stadium, which was used from 1923 until the stadium closed in 2000. The other venues used for the final before 1923 were Kennington Oval, Crystal Palace, Stamford Bridge and Lillie Bridge, all in London, Goodison Park in Liverpool and Fallowfield Stadium and Old Trafford in Manchester. The Millennium Stadium in Cardiff hosted the final for six years (2001–2006), while the new Wembley Stadium was under construction. Other grounds have been used for replays, which until 1999 took place if the initial match ended in a draw. The new Wembley Stadium has been the permanent venue of the final since 2007.

As of 2018, the record for the most wins is held by Arsenal with 13 victories. The cup has been won by the same team in two or more consecutive years on ten occasions, and four teams have won consecutive finals more than once: Wanderers, Blackburn Rovers, Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal. The cup has been won by a non-English team once. The cup is currently held by Chelsea, who defeated Manchester United in the 2018 final.

Malaysia FA Cup

The Malaysia FA Cup (Malay: Piala FA) is an annual national knock–out football tournament in Malaysia. The cup was first held in 1990. The competition was previously managed by Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) before it was transferred to Football Malaysia LLP (MFL) in the 2016 season.

The cup is contested among the clubs from the Malaysia Super League, Malaysia Premier League, Malaysia M3 League and Malaysia M4 League. The first round is played between the clubs qualified from the M3 and M4 League. The winners advance to the second round and joins the rest of the clubs.

The winners of the competition are awarded with a slot to compete in the AFC Cup alongside the champions of the Malaysia Super League. The current title holders are Pahang, which won their third title in the 2018 edition.

Manchester City F.C.

Manchester City Football Club is a football club based in Manchester, England, that competes in the Premier League, the top flight of English football. Founded in 1880 as St. Mark's (West Gorton), it became Ardwick Association Football Club in 1887 and Manchester City in 1894. The club's home ground is the City of Manchester Stadium in east Manchester, to which it moved in 2003, having played at Maine Road since 1923.

Manchester City entered the Football League in 1899, and won their first major honour with the FA Cup in 1904. It had its first major period of success in the late 1960s, winning the League, FA Cup and League Cup under the management of Joe Mercer and Malcolm Allison. After losing the 1981 FA Cup Final, the club went through a period of decline, culminating in relegation to the third tier of English football. Having regained their Premier League status in the early 2000s, Manchester City was purchased in 2008 by Abu Dhabi United Group for £210 million and received considerable financial investment.

The club won the Premier League in 2012, 2014 and, most recently in 2018, also becoming the first Premier League team to attain 100 points in a single season. Manchester City's revenue was the fifth highest of a football club in the world in the 2017–18 season at €527.7 million. In 2018, Forbes estimated the club was the fifth most valuable in the world at $2.47 billion.

Tottenham Hotspur F.C.

Tottenham Hotspur Football Club, commonly referred to as Tottenham () or Spurs, is a professional football club in Tottenham, London, England, that competes in the Premier League. Tottenham Hotspur Stadium has been the club's home ground since 2019, replacing their former home of White Hart Lane, which had been demolished to make way for the new stadium on the same site. Their training ground is on Hotspur Way in Bulls Cross in the London Borough of Enfield. Tottenham have played in a first (home) strip of white shirts and navy blue shorts since the 1898–99 season. The club's emblem is a cockerel standing upon a football, with a Latin motto Audere est Facere ("To Dare Is to Do").

Founded in 1882, Tottenham won the FA Cup for the first time in 1901, the only non-League club to do so since the formation of the Football League in 1888. Tottenham were the first club in the 20th century to achieve the League and FA Cup Double, winning both competitions in the 1960–61 season. After successfully defending the FA Cup in 1962, in 1963 they became the first British club to win a UEFA club competition – the European Cup Winners' Cup. They were also the inaugural winners of the UEFA Cup in 1972, becoming the first British club to win two different major European trophies. They have collected at least one major trophy in each of the six decades from the 1950s to 2000s – an achievement only matched by Manchester United. In total, Spurs have won two league titles, eight FA Cups, four League Cups, seven FA Community Shields, one European Cup Winners' Cup and two UEFA Cups. The club has a long-standing rivalry with nearby club Arsenal, with head-to-head fixtures known as the North London derby.

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