The FA Cup

Football lies at the heart of English sport. Originating here in England, it plays an important part in British society. Although there are numerous renowned international championships, the ones closest to home are often the most popular in the UK. The two most famous football competitions in England are the FA Cup and the Premier League. Whilst the Premier League only involves the top 20 English teams in a round-robin-style competition, the FA Cup can involve around 700 English teams from the big names such as Manchester City and Liverpool down to the local football teams in a knockout-style competition.

The FA Cup, the Football Association Challenge Cup, dates back to 1871-72, making it the oldest football competition in the world. Both male and female competitions take place, starting in August and culminating in May each year.

The football teams who take part in this knockout competition must be in the top 10 levels of the English football league system. This system is a pyramid of leagues, which are categorised by level. Teams who win numerous matches can rise through the pyramid system and those who don’t perform well constantly may find themselves facing relegation to a lower league.

The FA Cup competition consists of 12 rounds. In August, clubs at levels 8, 9 and 10 start to play their regional knockout matches, which are drawn at random. The team with the largest number of goals in a match wins, advancing to the next round and the losing team is knocked out of the competition. If a match ends in a draw, it is replayed. As the months move on, so does the competition and the quarter-finals, semi-finals and finals are played in spring each year. The semi-finals and finals are played at Wembley stadium, with a capacity of 90,000. The winners of the entire championship win the FA Cup and 40 winners’ medals to be distributed among the tem, staff and officials. 

When it comes to wins and finals appearances, Arsenal leads the way. Arsenal have won 14 times in total and made 21 appearances in a final. However, the most recent FA Cup winners are Liverpool F.C., who beat Chelsea on 14th May 2022 in a penalty shootout 6-5.

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