Search

FA general secretary defends FA Cup amid criticism

11:04 06 January 2013

The Budweiser sponsored F.A. Cup. Picture: Mike Egerton/EMPICS

The Budweiser sponsored F.A. Cup. Picture: Mike Egerton/EMPICS

EMPICS Sport

A free draw and replays will remain cornerstones of the FA Cup, according to Football Association general secretary Alex Horne.

He said the game’s national governing body, which itself celebrates its 150th anniversary this year, was always considering ways to ensure the competition remained relevant, with the Premier League and the Champions League appearing to carry more importance for the biggest clubs.

QPR manager Harry Redknapp felt that fans are only keen for the Premier League after the R’s had less than 9,000 in the ground.

The FA has not been afraid to make alterations where it has felt they were worthwhile - such as shifting the kick-off time of the FA Cup final to 5.15pm from its usual 3pm slot.

But Horne was against making further inroads into the competition’s traditions by seeding the draw, and also rejected the idea of scrapping replays, which has been proposed as one way to alleviate fixture congestion and make a winter break workable.

“Our view is that there are absolute fundamentals in the cup and one of those fundamentals is the free draw,” he said.

“The absolute tradition around the ability of a club to be picked at home, away - against a big club or against a small club, we think tinkering with that would be a mistake.

“I think replays are an absolute part of the magic of the cup - if you look at the replays that were earned yesterday some of the big clubs have got themselves into a spot of difficulty having to go and play away.”

Horne, general secretary since 2010, admits the competition has to change to appease fans and teams alike if it is to remain a major trophy.

“We talk regularly about ways in which we should look at the competition, what we are very nervous about is tinkering with it and potentially damaging it,” he told BBC Radio Five Live’s Sportsweek.

“You have got to recognise that the FA Cup needs to appeal to a new generation, it needs to stay relevant in a very different landscape to that which a lot of us remember historically.”

One of the traditions which has been altered is the kick-off time for the final.

Chelsea ran out 2-1 winners over Liverpool in a 2012 final that kicked off at 5.15pm in an effort to attract a higher television audience, something Horne reckons was a good decision.

He said: “We need to be pro-active, you remember in 1983 there was no football on a Sunday, things change all the time. “We are trying to appeal to new audiences all the time and move with the times - no longer are people finishing work at lunchtime on a Saturday.

“(The) 5.15 (kick-off) worked really well for us from a broadcast perspective, from a new audience perspective. We had over 500 million people watch the game globally and 11 million people watched it domestically which was actually more than the Champions League final with Chelsea in it.”

This season’s showpiece final will kick-off at the slightly later time of 5.30pm but Horne does not envisage a Saturday night final any time soon, and thinks Sunday finals could be difficult from a transport perspective.

“(The later kick-off time gave us) great audiences, a great way to appeal and a great way to keep the magic of the cup alive,” Horne added.

“I have to say that (5.15pm or 5.30pm) feels about right, much later than that and you are going to cause a problem for the travelling fans and that is the last thing we want to do.

“It (Sunday) is a possibility, it would be a balance for the fans travelling and the audiences enjoying the game at home.

“My instinct is that Sunday gets a little more difficult for transport arrangements, it is not something we have thought about.”

Related articles

0 comments

Latest Islington Sports News

Yesterday, 13:00
Marlon Kizito, Islington BC

Islington BC teenager Marlon Kizito made an impressive return to the ring with a third-round stoppage on the club’s open show at the Boston Dome, Tufnell Park.

Yesterday, 12:00
Islington U11s

Mesdar Woldesus netted twice as a second-half blitz sealed top spot in the group for Islington Under-11s with a 7-3 victory against Tower Hamlets.

Yesterday, 11:26
Liverpool fans display signs protesting ticket prices in the stands at Arsenal before kick-off. Picture: Nick Potts

In our weekly Arsenal fan column, Layth Yousif celebrates a small victory against the club’s penny pinchers, but says there’s a long battle ahead.

Yesterday, 10:00
Anaconda Swimming Club's Elena Dewhurst

Anaconda SC pair Elena Dewhurst and Andrew Boadi are both among the county’s elite swimmers after scooping gold medals at the Middlesex Championships.

Yesterday, 09:54
Action from Regent's Park Rovers' (red) 4-0 victory over South London Sharks in the Jack Morgan Cup. Pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

El Valiente staged a superb comeback to squeeze into the next round of the Dickie Davies Cup after a 3-2 win over Bethune.

Yesterday, 05:28
Junior Gunners

Arsenal head up to Manchester United later this month for what is always one of the most eagerly awaited clashes of any season.

Tue, 14:41
Highgate Harriers' Oran Gallagher was fourth in the boys' Under-13 race. Pic: Dieter Perry

Highgate Harriers’ Under-11 boys romped to victory in round four of the North West London Young Athletes League at the Bannister Stadium on Saturday.

Tue, 10:02
Adam Voges in action for Australia

Middlesex have confirmed the return of Adam Voges as their overseas player – as well as appointing new captains for both of their limited-overs sides.

Most read sport

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Competitions

Sony Smart Ultra HD 55'' LED TV

Enjoy the ultimate entertainment experience in your living room with the Sony Smart Ultra 55’’ LED TV. Be the envy of all your friends with this huge TV- you can change your living room into your own cinema! Get the boys around to watch the football or get the girls around to watch the DVD of 50 Shades.. this is a prize that everyone would enjoy! Stand a chance to upgrade your current entertainment system by wining this fantastic prize.

Surface Pro 4

Technology is ever evolving. We are constantly being shown new technology that is innovative, revolutionary and designed to make life easier for us all. Gone are the days of dial up modems and computers so large you needed half a room to store it. We are in the age of smooth, small and sleek. Companies are all trying their best to create technology that is easy to transport and guaranteed to be user friendly.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today

Subscribe