FA Cup

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The FA Cup (also known as the Football Association Challenge Cup) is the oldest and most renowned football competition in the world.  Although there is a Women’s FA Cup or a Women’s Football Association Challenge Cup, the FA Cup is solely for men’s football.  The competition was formed around the year 1871, although some believe the FA Cup to have started during the year 1872.


Surprisingly, the FA Cup allows teams and leagues in from all different levels, meaning that very good teams with extremely high standards and scores can end up playing teams from lower level leagues.  However, most of the time, teams with low standards and scores will usually end up being eliminated early on in the tournament before the final games take place.  There are some rules that apply to who can or cannot enter the FA Cup tournament – clubs and leagues are eligible if they competed during the last season in either the FA Vase, FA Trophy or FA Cup – that is, if the team or league is not already a part of the FA Premier League or the Football League.  If a team is part of the FA Premier League or the Football League, that team is guaranteed entrance into the FA Cup tournament.


The number of entering teams into the FA Cup competition varies by year and although the previous record was a whopping 656 teams and leagues during the year 1921, the number of participating teams has only risen with each consecutive season.  660 clubs participated in the FA Cup competition during the year 2004 and this season (the 2006-2007 season), there were an astonishing 687 teams that entered the FA Cup tournament.  This may seem like a lot of football games to be played, however, some teams and leagues with higher reputations will be exempt from certain rounds of the tournament, based on their previous scores.


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An interesting bit of history that surrounds the FA Cup competition is the actual FA Cup – winners of the title will receive the actual FA Cup trophy, but will only hold it until the following year in which another FA Cup tournament is held.  The current FA Cup is actually the fourth FA Cup – the first was stolen and was possibly melted down, the second was sold and the third still technically exists but is much too weak and brittle to pass around from winning team to winning team.  There is a fifth FA Cup, however, this cup remains stored for future use should anything happen to the fourth.


The 2006-2007 season is definitely the largest and most watched season in the FA Cup – especially with 687 leagues having been entered!  Although football had been popular in Europe for many years, it has just recently spread to many other countries in the world, including the United States.  With its spreading popularity, it is one of the most exciting tournaments to watch live.  You certainly don’t want to miss watching a live FA Cup competition – especially the FA Cup Finals!

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