Sport Soccer

Friday 20 April 2018

FA Cup final to return to its historic showpiece at end of season

THE FA Cup final has returned to its historic place at the end of the domestic season next term.

In recent seasons, the Wembley showpiece has lost some of its gloss.

In 2011, Manchester City's encounter with Stoke began as Manchester United were celebrating their Premier League title triumph at Blackburn, and over the last two seasons the game has been forced to share the spotlight with a weekend programme of top-flight matches.

Last month, the euphoria of Wigan beating Manchester City was quickly replaced by the desolation of relegation, which seemed somewhat unfortunate.

However, following the release of this season's fixtures today, the FA Cup final will now be played on May 17, a week after the Premier League season has concluded.

FA general secretary Alex Horne said: "We're well aware that fans and media have been calling for The FA Cup Final to have a day to itself and we're delighted that this is going to happen for 2014."

The FA has also been criticised for the early evening kick-offs over the past two seasons, particularly this year, when both competing clubs were from the north-west and were unable to get trains home.

There has been no word whether this trend will continue.

However, with the latest instalment of the world's oldest cup competition due to begin on August 17 with the extra preliminary round, Horne feels a step in the right direction has been taken.

"It' the first time we've managed to get the FA Cup Final a stand-alone date since Chelsea v Portsmouth in 2010," he said.

"There have been various reasons for that, not least the two UEFA Champions League Finals at Wembley Stadium which have been fantastic occasions and required huge resources and a massive build up time behind the scenes."

Press Association

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