Why is nobody talking about the FA Cup?

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the world of sport, Premier League football is plotting a return – but nobody seems to be talking about the FA Cup.

The world’s most famous cup competition had reached its quarter-final stage pre-lockdown but, with no plan to end the competition having been announced – the likelihood of it even finishing seems slim.

The FA Cup is an opportunity for glory

As I mentioned, the quarter-final draw had not long been made when the country was placed into a state of lockdown. The draw was as such:

  • Leicester City v Chelsea
  • Newcastle United v Manchester City
  • Sheffield United v Arsenal
  • Norwich City v Manchester United

The teams still involved are all within touching distance of Wembley Stadium with just one game separating them from the semi-finals. This, as I can attest to as a Newcastle United fan, means so much to the fans of some clubs.

In the FA Cup fifth round, Miguel Almiron celebrates one of his two goals with teammate Fabian Schar
Miguel Almiron celebrates one of his two goals against West Brom to send Newcastle to the Quarter finals

For reference, Newcastle haven’t won the FA Cup since 1955, or any silverware at all since 1969. Meanwhile, Sheffield United haven’t won the FA cup since 1925 while Norwich City and Leicester have never won it at all.

The FA Cup is the oldest and greatest cup competition in all of football in the eyes of many, including me. To win the FA Cup is an incredible honour for any football club, and four of the eight teams left in the tournament have the best chance to get their hands on that trophy they’ve had in years.

Money talks

The reality is, football these days is a business and is all about the money. The Premier League is the main talking point because it’s the primary competition of football in this country. However, the fact that it is the only talking point is, in my opinion, down to the money involved.

The team who finishes bottom of the Premier League will receive somewhere north of £100m in money from television rights. If they don’t get the season finished, that money will either have to be completely paid back to the broadcasters or at the very least heavily diluted.

Meanwhile, the team who wins the FA Cup will receive £3.6m, plus a further £1.8m for winning the QF and a gradually lowering amount for every round progressed through up to that point.

Silence is deafening

I get that money is the most important thing in the world of football nowadays, but the fact that nobody has even mentioned the FA Cup throughout this whole period of uncertainty is a tragedy to me.

Winning the FA Cup is one of football’s greatest honours and right now, there are eight teams who have a chance to attain that honour this season. For teams like Newcastle, Sheffield United and Norwich, God only knows when they’ll get this far in the competition again.

Joe Harvey is held aloft as Newcastle celebrate winning the FA Cup in 1952
Joe Harvey is held aloft as Newcastle celebrate winning the FA Cup in 1952 during a period of dominance in the comp

I’m a 22-year-old bloke and this is the furthest I’ve seen my team get in the FA Cup since 2005, when I was just seven-years-old. It seems totally wrong to deny the teams the opportunity to see how the FA Cup would have unfolded – even if it would be without any fans there to see it.

How do we fix it?

Against all odds, it does now look as though we will see some Premier League football again soon and find a natural conclusion to the 2019/20 season. That’s great for us football fans – even if it does present a whole bunch of political controversies that I’ll try a veer away from for now.

Liverpool FC players Gini Wijnaldum, Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino
Liverpool are just a few points away from winning the Premier League, which they should now be able to go and do

The likelihood seems to be right now that the FA Cup will be cancelled for the first time since World War II. There’s 92 Premier League fixtures left to be played as well as seven FA Cup fixtures – I’m sure if they tried to they can fit the cup games in somewhere.

It just seems wrong that a competition be cancelled halfway through. At the very least, I’d like to see the powers that be having a discussion about what can be done so that we get a resolution to the greatest cup competition on the planet.

Whether the fans would be there to celebrate or not, winning the FA Cup would be monumental to each and every one of the eight teams left in the competition. To deny those teams, who have worked hard to get to this point in the competition, the opportunity to taste that glory would be a crying shame.

What would you do? Cancel it or try and fit the games in somewhere? Let us know in the comments below.

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Kieran Harm
Kieran hails from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne and holds a degree in Sports Journalism from the University of Brighton. He covers a range of sports, specialising in football and NFL. Kieran is a long-suffering member of the Toon Army as well as a very proud member of Broncos Country.

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