Last year I wrote an article on how the FA Cup Final needs to be more like the Super Bowl. I still stand by those thoughts and believe that yet again the FA have failed to do enough to recover the spectacle that the FA Cup once was.
The oldest trophy in the world, one that used to mean so much to teams to win has, in the last 10 years, become a second thought to finishing in the top four of the Premier League.
For anyone that is interested in reading my original article, written for GiveMeSport from last year you can do HERE
The whole aura of the FA Cup has declined somewhat over the past ten or so years. Other trophies now take precedence as teams begin to concentrate more on the lucrative finances of the Premier League and Champions League. By winning the FA Cup you get instant qualification to the over-inflated Europa League, another tournament that has lost the cherish it once had. UEFA have attempted to rectify this by giving the winner a place in the Champions League the season after. A great idea as clubs that won’t make the UCL through the league will fight harder to win the formally named UEFA Cup.
So where do we lay the blame for the FA Cup’s decline? The FA? UEFA? The clubs? Well all three can be attributed to its downfall.
Scheduling the kick off times at 5:15 helps no one. Especially teams that travel from the north to play a Sunday game at Wembley meaning it is ever so difficult for the fans to get home. The semi finals being at Wembley is a farce as the home of football should be kept for the final only. It is a great money spinner and that’s why the FA have done it.
Actions needed to be taken
1. Move the final kick off time back to 3pm on a Saturday
2. Move the semi finals to other club neutral grounds, aka, Villa Park and Old Trafford, or even the Emirates.
By expanding the Champions League, closing down the Cup Winners Cup and making the UEFA Cup the Europa League, it has created a ripple affect across the English domestic scene. When only the Champions qualified for the UCL or European Cup, the UEFA Cup was a much bigger and more prestigious tournament. The Cup Winners Cup was fought out by, would you believe it, all the domestic Cup winners, so more often than not teams that wouldn’t finish in the top two of the league, giving a much more varied group of teams. I’ve written in the past how I feel UEFA need to reinstate the Cup Winners Cup, (you can read that article HERE) and again I reiterate the need for this to happen. I believe it would make the FA Cup much more appealing.
1. Reduce the number of sides in the Champions League from the top 6 countries, to 2 (at the absolute max).
2. Reinstate the Cup Winners Cup
3. Redesign the Europa League and rebuild it as a prestigious trophy
Money rules, simple. The more money a club has the better players it can buy meaning the better trophies it participates in etc etc etc. In all fairness to the clubs they need to do what is “best for business” and if you have a choice between the money for winning the FA Cup and entry to Europa League of finishing 4th and Champions League football, you as a chairman would take the latter.
Whilst we can all wish for change the likeliness that this will happen is remote. The FA seem more intent on introducing new leagues than fixing their current ones.
Do you feel the same way about the FA Cup? Comment below and let us know your thoughts and feelings.