Blame the FA for the cup's loss of magic

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Football News

The Football Association is responsible for the game in this country at all levels.

From grassroots all the way up to the heights of representing England. From the FA Vase to the FA Cup.

However, it is the world's greatest cup competition that they seem to have neglected in recent years.

In all honesty, this began with the opening of the new Wembley Stadium. With the astronomical cost to revamp the home of football in this country, the FA sought to recoup some of their large investment by playing FA Cup semi-finals there.

One of the main attractions of getting to the cup final was to play at Wembley in front of 90,000, but now all clubs had to do was to make the last four in order to reach the hallowed turf. 

A clear detraction from the cup's tradition and folklore.

Of course, money is also a key factor. That was the reason behind the semi-finals being held at Wembley and it is also seemingly the reason why in recent years, the cup final hasn't even been given its own special day.

Instead, it is overshadowed by a (usually) near-full programme of Premier League fixtures. The most notable example of this came in 2011 when Manchester City clinched their first silverware in 35 years with a victory over Stoke City in the final mere hours after rivals United had won their 19th title with a lunchtime draw at Blackburn.

Granted last year only one Premier League fixture fell on cup final day. But it is a worrying trend that shows very little sign of halting.

Again this comes down to the lucrative TV deal that pumps millions into the Premier League pot each season. Add to that the fact that clubs can earn £750,000 by finishing one place higher in the table compared with a prize fund of £900,000 for finishing as runners-up in the cup and you can start to see why the competition has lost a bit of its gloss.

Teams seem to no longer value the cup as they once did in previous years. Teams often struggle to sell out their stadiums and grounds on Third Round day; something that would have been inconceivable to previous generations.

It is now up to the FA to rejuvenate the competition. Scrap the Wembley semi-finals, give the cup final the day it deserves and bring back the traditional kick-off time.

Over to you, football association.

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