FA Cup

Annual English football competition / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Football Association Challenge Cup, more commonly known as the FA 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). Since 2015, it has been known as The Emirates FA Cup after its headline sponsor. A concurrent Women's FA Cup has been held since 1970.

Quick facts: Organising body, Founded, Region, Number of t...
FA Cup
Organising bodyThe Football Association
Founded1871; 152 years ago (1871)
  • England
  • Wales
Number of teams729 (2023–24)
Qualifier forUEFA Europa League
Domestic cup(s)FA Community Shield
Current championsManchester City
(7th title)
Most successful club(s)Arsenal (14 titles)
Television broadcastersBBC
ITV Sport
List of international broadcasters
Soccerball_current_event.svg 2023–24 FA Cup

The competition is open to all eligible clubs down to Level 9 of the English football league system with Level 10 clubs acting as stand-ins in the event of non-entries from above. [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, and are contested by clubs in the National League System, levels 5 to 10 of the English football system, more commonly called non-league. 32 of these 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 20 Premier League and 24 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 the 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 UEFA Europa League and a place in the upcoming FA Community Shield. Arsenal are the most successful club with fourteen titles, most lately in 2020, and their former manager Arsène Wenger is the competition's most successful, having won seven finals with the team. Manchester City are the current champions, having defeated local rivals Manchester United in the 2023 final.