The Football Association Challenge Cup, more commonly known as the FA Cup, is an annual competition in men's domestic . First played during the , it is the in the world. It is organised by and named after (The FA). Since 2015, it has been known as The Emirates FA Cup after its headline sponsor. A concurrent tournament is also held, the . The competition is open to any eligible down to Level 10 of the – all 92 professional clubs in the (level 1) and the (levels 2 to 4), and several hundred teams in steps 1 to 6 of the (levels 5 to 10). A record 763 clubs competed in . The tournament consists of 12 randomly drawn rounds followed by and the . Entrants are not , although a system of 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, from which 32 teams progress to the first round of the Competition Proper, meeting the first of the 48 professional teams from and . The last entrants are the Premier League and clubs, into the draw for the Third Round Proper. 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.Since the formation of the Football League in 1888, the only non-League club to win the FA Cup is Tottenham Hotspur in 1901. Since 1914, when Queens Park Rangers reached the fourth round proper (the last eight/quarter-final stage), the only non-League club to have reached that stage is Lincoln City in 2017. Both Tottenham and QPR achieved their feats whilst members of the Southern Football League, which ran parallel to the Football League until 1920, when the Football League expanded and absorbed the top division of the Southern League. Since then, the Southern League became part of the English league pyramid, below the Football League. 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 and a place in the upcoming . are the most successful club with fourteen titles and is the most successful manager in the history of the competition, having won seven finals as Arsenal's manager. are the current holders, having beaten 1–0 in the .


In 1863, the newly founded (the FA) published the of Association Football, unifying the various different rules in use before then. On 20 July 1871, in the offices of , the FA Secretary proposed to the FA committee that "it is desirable that a Challenge Cup should be established in connection with the Association for which all clubs belonging to the Association should be invited to compete". The kicked off in November 1871. After thirteen games in all, were crowned the winners in the final, on 16 March 1872. Wanderers retained the trophy the following year. The modern cup was beginning to be established by the 1888–89 season, when qualifying rounds were introduced. Following the edition, the competition was suspended due to the , and did not resume until . The , commonly known as the "White Horse Final", was the first final to be played in the newly opened (known at the time as the Empire Stadium). The saw "" being sung for the first time at the Cup final, which has become a pre-match tradition. Due to the outbreak of , the competition was not played between the and editions. Due to the wartime breaks, the competition did not celebrate its centenary year until ; fittingly the final featured a goal by which was later voted the greatest goal ever scored in an FA Cup Final, but has since been replaced by . Having previously featured replays, the modern day practice of ensuring the semi-final and final matches finish on the day was introduced in 2000. Redevelopment of Wembley saw the final played outside of England for the first time, the 2001–2006 finals being played at the in . The final returned to Wembley in 2007, followed by the semi-finals from 2008.


The competition is open to any club down to Level 10 of the which meets the eligibility criteria. All clubs in the top four levels (the and the three divisions of the ) are automatically eligible. Clubs in the next six levels () are also eligible provided they have played in either the FA Cup, or competitions in the previous season. Newly formed clubs, such as in and also , may not therefore play in the FA Cup in their first season. All participating clubs must also have a stadium suitable for the competition. It is very rare for top clubs to miss the competition, although it can happen in exceptional circumstances. did not defend their title in , as they were already in the . The club stated that entering both tournaments would overload their fixture schedule and make it more difficult to defend their Champions League and Premier League titles. The club claimed that they did not want to devalue the FA Cup by fielding a weaker side. The move benefited United as they received a two-week break and won the 1999–2000 league title by an 18-point margin, although they did not progress past the group stage of the Club World Championship. The withdrawal from the FA Cup, however, drew considerable criticism as this weakened the tournament's prestige and later admitted his regret regarding their handling of the situation. Welsh sides that play in English leagues are eligible, although since the creation of the there are only five clubs remaining: (the only non-English team to win the tournament, in ), , , , and . In the early years other teams from Wales, Ireland and Scotland also took part in the competition, with Glasgow side losing the final to in and before being barred from entering by the . In the 2013–14 season the first club entered the competition when competed. The first game played in the Channel Islands - and thus the southernmost FA Cup tie played - took place on 7 August 2021 between and . The number of entrants has increased greatly in recent years. In the season, 660 clubs entered the competition, beating the long-standing record of 656 from the 1921–22 season. In this increased to 674 entrants, in to 687, in to 731 clubs, and for the and competitions it reached 762. The number has varied slightly but remained roughly stable since then, with 759 clubs participating in , a record 763 in , 758 for , 737 for and 736 for . By comparison, the other major English domestic cup, the , involves only the 92 members of the Premier League and Football League.

Competition format


Beginning in August, the competition proceeds as a throughout, consisting of twelve rounds, a semi-final and then a final, in May. A system of byes ensures clubs above Level 9 and 10 enter the competition at later stages. There is no , the fixtures in each round being determined by a random draw. Prior to the fifth round, fixtures ending in a tie are replayed once only. The first six rounds are qualifiers, with the draws organised on a regional basis. The next six rounds are the "proper" rounds where all clubs are in one draw.


Entrants from the bottom two levels (9 and 10) begin the competition in the Extra Preliminary Round. Clubs from higher levels are then added in later rounds, as per the table below. The months in which rounds are played are traditional, with exact dates subject to each year's calendar. The qualifying rounds are regionalised to reduce the travel costs for smaller non-league sides. The first and second proper rounds were also previously split into Northern and Southern sections, but this practice was ended after the 1997–98 competition. The final is normally held the Saturday after the season finishes in May. The only seasons in recent times when this pattern was not followed were: , when most rounds were played a few weeks earlier than normal as an experiment; and when the FA Cup Final was played before the Premier League season had finished, to allow to be ready for the final, as well as in to allow England time to prepare for that summer's ; and when the final was delayed until August due to the .

The draw

The draws for the Extra-Preliminary, Preliminary, and First Qualifying Rounds used to all occur at the same time. Thereafter, the draw for each subsequent round is not made until after the scheduled dates for the previous round, meaning that in the case of replays, clubs will often know their future opponents in advance. The draw for each of the proper rounds is broadcast live on television, usually taking place at the conclusion of live coverage of one of the games of the previous round. Public interest is particularly high during the draw for the third round, which is where the top-ranked teams are added to the draw.


In rounds up to and including the Fourth Round Proper, fixtures resulting in a draw (after normal time) go to a , played at the venue of the away team, at a later date; if that replay is still tied, the winner is settled by a period of , and if still necessary, a . Since , ties have been settled on the day from the quarter-finals onwards, using extra time and penalties. From , Fifth Round ties are also settled by extra time and penalties. Until , further replays would be played until one team was victorious. Some ties took as many as six matches to settle; in their 1975 campaign, played 12 games over six rounds, which remains the most games played by a team to reach a final. Replays were traditionally played three or four days after the original game, but from they were staged at least 10 days later on police advice for the rounds proper. This led to being introduced, the first of which came on 26 November 1991 when eliminated . From to , the went to extra time on the day if the score after 90 minutes was a draw. If the score was still level after extra time, the match would go to a replay. Replays for the semi-finals were scrapped for , the last semi-final to go into a replay was in 1998–99 when Manchester United beat Arsenal 2–1 after extra time. The first game had ended in a 0–0 draw. The first to go to extra time and a replay was the , between the and the . The initial tie finished 1–1 but the Royal Engineers won the replay 2–0 in normal time. The last replayed final was the , when Arsenal and fought a 1–1 draw. The replay saw Arsenal win the FA Cup, 2–1 after extra time. The last quarter-final to go to a replay was Manchester United vs in the . The original game at Old Trafford ended in a 1–1 draw, while Manchester United won the replay at the , 2–1. It was also the last FA Cup game ever played at the Boleyn Ground. The last fifth round replay saw defeat 6–1 at Wembley in the after the first match at ended in a 2–2 draw.

Qualification for subsequent competitions

European football

The FA Cup winners qualify for the following season's (formerly named the UEFA Cup; from its launch in 1960 until 1998, they entered the now-defunct instead). This European place applies even if the team is relegated or is not in the English top flight. In the past, if the FA Cup winning team also qualified for the following season's or Europa League through their league or European performance, then the losing FA Cup finalist were given the European berth of the League Cup winners and the League Cup winners would be given the league berth instead (in the Cup Winners' Cup era, teams qualifying for the UEFA Cup via other competitions would be promoted to the Cup Winners' Cup instead). FA Cup winners enter the Europa League at the group stage. Losing finalists, if they had not qualified for Europe via the league, began earlier, at the play-off or third qualifying round stage. Premier League, 3 May 2012 From the season, however, does not allow the runners-up to qualify for the Europa League through the competition. If the winner — and until 2015, the runner-up — has already qualified for Europe through their league position (with the exception of the UEFA Cup until 1998), the FA Cup berth is then given to the highest-place team in the league who has not yet qualified.

FA Community Shield

The FA Cup winners also qualify for the following season's single-match , the traditional season opener played against the previous season's champions (or the Premier League runners-up if the FA Cup winners also won the league – the ).


Fixtures in the 12 rounds of the competition are usually played at the home ground of one of the two teams. The and are played at a neutral venue – the rebuilt (since and respectively).

Competition rounds

In the matches for the twelve competition rounds, the team who plays at home is decided when the fixtures are drawn – simply the first team drawn out for each fixture. Occasionally games may have to be moved to other grounds due to other events taking place, security reasons or a ground not being suitable to host popular teams. However, since 2003, clubs cannot move grounds to the away side's for capacity or financial reasons. If any move has to be made, it has to be to a neutral venue and any additional monies earned by the move goes into the central pot. In the event of a , the is played at the ground of the team who originally played . In the days when multiple replays were possible, the second replay (and any further replays) were played at neutral grounds. The clubs involved could alternatively agree to toss for home advantage in the second replay.


The semi-finals have been played exclusively at the rebuilt since , one year after it opened and after it had already hosted a final (in 2007). For the first decade of the competition, the was used as the semi-final venue. In the period between this first decade and the reopening of Wembley, semi-finals were played at high-capacity neutral venues around England; usually the home grounds of teams not involved in that semi-final, chosen to be roughly equidistant between the two teams for fairness of travel. The top three most used venues in this period were in Birmingham (55 times), in Sheffield (34 times) and in Manchester (23 times). The was also used seven times for semi-final, between 1991 and 2000 (the last held there), but not always for fixtures featuring London teams. In 2005, both were held at the Millennium Stadium. In 2003 the FA took the decision to permanently use the new Wembley for semi-finals to recoup debts in financing the new stadium. This was controversial, with the move seen as both unfair to fans of teams located far from London, as well as taking some of the prestige away from a Wembley final. In defending the move, the FA has also cited the extra capacity Wembley offers, although the 2013 fixture between Millwall and Wigan led to the unprecedented step of placing 6,000 tickets on sale to neutral fans after the game failed to sell out. A fan poll by ' in 2013 found 86% opposition to Wembley semi-finals.


The final has been played at the rebuilt since it opened, in The rebuilding process meant that between 2001 and 2006 they were hosted at the in in Wales. Prior to rebuilding, the final was hosted by the since it opened in (being originally named the Empire Stadium). One exception to this 78 year series of Empire Stadium finals (including five replays) was the between Leeds and Chelsea, held at in Manchester. In the 51 years prior to the Empire Stadium opening, the final (including 8 replays) was held in a variety of locations, predominantly in London, and mainly at the and then . It was played 22 times at The Oval (the inaugural competition in 1872, and then all but two times until 1892). After The Oval, Crystal Palace hosted 21 finals from 1895 to 1914, broken up by four replays elsewhere. The other London venues were from 1920 to 1922 (the last three finals before the move to Empire Stadium); and the University of Oxford's in for the second ever final, in 1873. The other venues used sparingly in this period were all outside of London, as follows: * , Derby (1886) * , Manchester (1893) * , Liverpool (1894) * , (1901 replay) * , Manchester (1911 replay) * Goodison Park (1910 replay) * , Sheffield (1912 replay) * Old Trafford (1915)

Artificial turf

The FA permitted (3G) pitches in all rounds of the competition from the and beyond. Under the 2015–16 rules, the pitch must be of FIFA One Star quality, or Two Star for ties if they involve one of the 92 professional clubs. This followed approval two years previously for their use in the qualifying rounds only – if a team with a 3G pitch progressed to the competition proper, they had to switch their tie to the ground of another eligible entrant with a natural grass pitch. Having been strong proponents of the surface, the first match in the proper rounds to be played on a 3G surface was a televised first round replay at Maidstone United's on 20 November 2014.


The eventual winners of the competition receive the FA Cup; it is only loaned to the club by the FA, under the current (2015–16) rules it must be returned by 1 March, or earlier if given seven days' notice. Traditionally, the holders had the Cup until the following year's presentation, although more recently the trophy has been taken on publicity tours by the FA in between finals. The trophy comes in three parts – the cup itself, plus a lid and a base. There have been two designs of trophy in use, but five physical trophies have been presented. The original trophy, known as the "little tin idol", was 18 inches high and made by Martin, Hall & Co. It was stolen in 1895 and never recovered, and so was replaced by an exact replica, used until 1910. The FA decided to change the design after the 1909 winners, Manchester United, made their own replica, leading the FA to realise they did not own the copyright. This new, larger design was by , and was used from 1911. In order to preserve this original, from 1992 it was replaced by an exact replica, although this had to be replaced after just over two decades, after showing wear and tear from being handled more than in previous eras. This third replica, first used in 2014, was built heavier to withstand the increased handling. Of the four surviving trophies, only the 1895 replica has entered private ownership. The name of the winning team is engraved on the silver band around the base as soon as the final has finished, in order to be ready in time for the presentation ceremony. This means the engraver has just five minutes to perform a task which would take 20 under normal conditions, although time is saved by engraving the year on during the match, and sketching the presumed winner. During the final, the trophy is decorated with ribbons in the colours of both finalists, with the loser's ribbons being removed at the end of the game. The tradition of tying ribbons started after won the and the wife of a Spurs director decided to tie blue and white ribbons to the handles of the cup. Traditionally, at Wembley finals, the presentation is made at the Royal Box, with players, led by the captain, mounting a staircase to a gangway in front of the box and returning by a second staircase on the other side of the box. At Cardiff the presentation was made on a podium on the pitch. The tradition of presenting the trophy immediately after the game did not start until the ; after the first final in 1872 the trophy was not presented to the winners, Wanderers, until a reception held four weeks later in the Pall Mall Restaurant in London. Under the original rules, the trophy was to be permanently presented to any club which won the competition three times, although when inaugural winners Wanderers achieved this feat by the , the rules were changed by FA Secretary CW Alcock (who was also captain of Wanderers in their first victory). have the distinction of being the football club which has held the FA Cup trophy for the longest uninterrupted period - seven years. Portsmouth had defeated Wolverhampton Wanderers 4–1 in the and were awarded the trophy as 1938–39 FA Cup winners. But with the outbreak of in September 1939, the regular Football League and FA Cup competitions for the 1939–40 season were cancelled for the duration of the war. Portsmouth's manager was rumoured to have kept the FA Cup trophy 'safe under his bed' throughout the duration of the war, but this is an . Because the naval city of Portsmouth was a primary strategic military target for German Luftwaffe bombing, the FA Cup trophy was actually taken ten miles to the north of Portsmouth, to the nearby Hampshire village of , and there it resided in a quaint thatched roof country pub called ''The Bird in Hand'' for the seven years of the war. After the conclusion of World War II, the FA Cup trophy was presented back to the Football Association by the club in time for the .

Original design from 1871

1871 original

The first trophy, the 'little tin idol', was made by Martin, Hall & Co at a cost of £20. It was stolen from a shoe shop window belonging to William Shillcock while held by on 11 September 1895 and was never seen again. Despite a £10 reward for information, the crime was never solved. As it happened while it was in their care, the FA fined Villa £25 to pay for a replacement. Just over 60 years later, 80 year old career criminal Henry (Harry) James Burge claimed to have committed the theft, confessing to a newspaper, with the story being published in the ' newspaper on 23 February 1958. He claimed to have carried out the robbery with two other men, although when discrepancies with a contemporaneous report in the ' newspaper (the crime pre-dated written police reports) in his account of the means of entry and other items stolen, detectives decided there was no realistic possibility of a conviction and the case was closed. Burge claimed the cup had been melted down to make counterfeit coins, which matched known intelligence of the time, in which stolen silver was being used to forge coins which were then laundered through at a local racecourse, although Burge had no history of forgery in a record of 42 previous convictions for which he had spent 42 years in prison. He had been further imprisoned in 1957 for seven years for theft from cars. Released in 1961, he died in 1964.

1895 replica

After the theft, a replica of the trophy was made, which was used until a redesign of the trophy in 1911. The 1895 replica was then presented to the FA's long-serving president . Kinnaird died in 1923, and his family kept it in their possession, out of view, until putting it up for auction in 2005. It was sold at auction house on 19 May 2005 for 420,000 (£478,400 including auction fees and taxes). The sale price set a new world record for a piece of football , surpassing the £254,000 paid for the in 1997. The successful bidder was , the then joint chairman of ; claiming the FA and government were doing nothing proactive to ensure the trophy remained in the country, Gold stated his purchase was motivated by wanting to save it for the nation. Accordingly, Gold presented the trophy to the in Preston on 20 April 2006, where it went on immediate public display. It later moved with the museum to its new location in Manchester. In November 2012, it was ceremonially presented to , after they beat 7–1 in a charity replay of the . In September 2020, Gold sold the replica trophy for £760,000 through the auction house. In January 2021, it was revealed that the trophy had been purchased by , the owner of , who stated that it would be returned on loan to the National Football Museum.

Current design from 1911

1911 original

The redesigned trophy first used in 1911 was larger at 61.5 cm (24.2 inches) high, and was designed and manufactured by , coincidentally being won by in its first outing. On the 27 March 2016 episode of the BBC television programme , this trophy was valued at £1 million by expert , although he suggested that, due to the design featuring depictions of grapes and vines, it may not have been specifically produced for the FA, but was instead an off-the-shelf design originally meant to be a wine or champagne cooler. This was later disproved when Thomas Fattorini was invited to the Antiques Roadshow to "ambush" Alastair Dickenson with the competition winning design by Fattorini & Sons. The show was filmed at and subsequentially aired on 23 October 2016. A smaller, but otherwise identical, replica was also made by , the North Wales Coast FA Cup trophy, and is contested annually by members of that regional Association.

1992 replica

The 1992 replica was made by . A copy of this trophy was also produced, in case anything happened to the primary trophy.

2014 replica

The 2014 replica was made by , handcrafted in sterling 925 silver over 250 hours. A weight increase for greater durability has taken it to .


Each club in the final receives 40 winners' or runners'-up medals to be distributed among players, staff and officials. The traditional styles of gold cased medals, the winners' medal which had remain largely unchanged since the 1890s, and runners-up medals which were last updated in 1946, were replaced for the 2021 Final by new designs of gold winners' medals and silver runners-up medals suspended on a ribbon.


Since the start of the , the FA Cup has been sponsored. However, to protect the identity of the competition, the sponsored name has always included 'The FA Cup' in addition to the sponsor's name, unlike sponsorship deals for the where the word 'cup' is preceded by only the sponsor's name. Sponsorship deals run for four years, though – as in the case of E.ON – one-year extensions may be agreed. is the sponsor from 2015 to 2018, renaming the competition as 'The Emirates FA Cup', unlike previous editions, which included 'The FA Cup in association with E.ON' and 'The FA Cup with Budweiser'. This was later extended until 2021. From 2006 to 2013, supplied match balls for all FA Cup matches. They were replaced at the start of the 2013–14 season by , who produced the competition's official match ball for five seasons. took over for the 2018–19 season, beginning a three-year partnership with the FA.

Records and statistics



*Most wins: 14, (, , , , , , , , , , , , , ) *Most consecutive wins: 3, joint record: ** (, , ) ** (, , ) *Most appearances in a final: 21, (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ) *Most Final appearances without ever winning: 2, joint record: **' (, ) ** (, ) ** (, ) ** (, ) *Most Final appearances without ever losing: 5, ' (, , , , ) *Most Final appearances without losing (streak): 7, joint record: ** (, , , , , , ) ** (, , , , , , ) * Longest gap between wins: 69 years, (–) *Biggest win: 6 goals, joint record: ** 6–0 () ** 6–0 () *Most goals in a final: 7: ** 6–1 () ** 4–3 () *Most goals by a losing side: 3: **: Lost 3–4 against () **: Drew 3–3 but lost in a penalty shootout against () *Most defeats in a final: 8, joint record: ** (, , , , , , , ) ** (, , , , , , , )


*Most wins by player: 7: () (, , ) & () (, , , ) *Most wins by manager: 7, () (, , , , , , ) *Most appearances: 9, () (, , , ) & () (, , , , ) *Most goals (one final): 3: ** () () ** () () ** () () *Most goals (all finals): 5, () (2 in , 2 in , 1 in ) *Most finals scored in: 4, () (1 each in , , , ) *Youngest FA Cup finalist: (), 17 years and 119 days () *Youngest player to score in an FA Cup Final: (), 18 years and 19 days () *Oldest player: (), 41 years and 257 days ()

All rounds

*Biggest win: 26–0 () *Biggest away win: 0–14 () *Highest attendance at Wembley: 126,047 (official) up to 300,000 (estimate) at the "" ( ''v.'' , 28 April 1923) *Most clubs competing for trophy in a season: 763 () *Longest tie: 660 minutes (6 matches in total), ''v.'' (; Alvechurch won the sixth match 1–0) *Longest penalty shootout: 20 penalties each, ''v.'' (; Tunbridge Wells won 16–15) *Most rounds played in a season: 9, for: ** (: 1st–4th Qualifying Rounds, 1st–5th Rounds) ** (: Preliminary, 1st–4th Qualifying Rounds, 1st–4th Rounds) ** (: 1st–4th Qualifying Rounds, 1st–5th Rounds) ** (: Preliminary, 1st–4th Qualifying Rounds, 1st–4th Rounds) *Most games played in a season: 13, (: one First Qualifying, two Second Qualifying, five Third Qualifying, four Fourth Qualifying and one First Round) *Fastest goal: 4 seconds, Gareth Morris (for ''v.'' , ) *Most consecutive games without defeat: 22, ( through . Won three FA Cups.) *Fastest hat-trick: 2 min 20 sec, (for ''v.'' , ) *Most career goals: 50 (for in 12 tournaments from to ). *Most goals by a player in a single FA Cup season: 19, (for , . Preston outscored opponents 50–5 over 7 matches, including "Biggest win" shown above.). *Most goals by a player in a single FA Cup game: 9, (for in 11–0 defeat of , ) *Scoreline: Two examples of teams scoring 7 goals and not winning – 8–7 (), and 7–7 (). *Youngest player: , 15 years and 88 days (for ''v.'' , ), *Youngest goalscorer: , 16 years and 25 days (for ''v.'' , ) *Youngest goalscorer (proper rounds): , 16 years and 66 days (for ''v.'' , ) * Biggest gap between two teams in an FA Cup match: 161 difference in rank between 8th-tier and Premier League , .

Cup runs and giant killings

The possibility of unlikely victories in the earlier rounds of the competition, where lower ranked teams beat higher placed opposition in what is known as a "giant killing", is much anticipated by the public. Such upsets are considered an integral part of the tradition and prestige of the competition, and the attention gained by giant-killing teams can be as great as that for winners of the cup. Almost every club in the has a fondly remembered giant-killing act in its history. It is considered particularly newsworthy when a top team suffers an upset defeat, or where the giant-killer is a non-league club, i.e. from outside . One analysis of four years of FA Cup results showed that it was 99.85 per cent likely that at least one team would beat one from its next higher division in a given year. The probability drops to 48.8 per cent for a two-division gap, and 39.28 per cent for a three-division gap.

Early years

was founded in 1888, 16 years after the first FA Cup competition. Since the creation of the Football League, is the only side to win the Cup, taking the with a victory over League runners-up . At that time, the Football League consisted of two divisions with a combined total of 36 clubs, mostly teams from and the , following a gradual increase on the original total of 12 Football League clubs on its formation in 1888. Spurs competed in the , which ran parallel to the Football League, and were champions. Only two other non-League clubs have even reached the final since the founding of the League: Sheffield Wednesday in 1890 (champions of the , a rival league which was already effectively the tier below the League, which it formally became in 1892 upon formation of the Second Division — Wednesday being let straight into the First Division) and the Southern League's in 1900 and 1902. Upon the Football League's expansion and creation of the Third Division for , all the clubs in the Southern League First Division clubs transferred over and it has been since placed below the League in the , with the sandwiching the two since .

Non-League giant killings

The most recent examples of a team () beating a Level 1 opponent are side 's over Premier League side in the and side 's over Level 1 's in the . This was the first defeat of a top flight team by non-league opposition since 1989, when claimed a at home over , who had won the FA Cup two seasons earlier and finished that season seventh in the First Division. In the , a non-league side achieved a Level 1 giant killing that was voted "best FA Cup tie ever" in a 2007 poll by ' newspaper. Non-league were trailing First Division 0–1 with less than seven minutes left in the , when Hereford's Ronnie Radford scored the equalizer – a goal still shown regularly when FA Cup fixtures are broadcast. Hereford finished the shocking comeback by defeating Newcastle 2–1 in the match. They finished that season as runners-up of the Southern League, behind , and were voted into the at the expense of . Some small clubs gain a reputation for being "cup specialists" after two or more giant killing feats within a few years. hold the record for the most victories over league opposition as a non-league team, having recorded 20 wins through the years before they achieved into The Football League in 2003. The record for a club which has never entered the Football League is held by , with 17 wins against league teams.

Non-League cup runs

For non-League teams, reaching the Third Round Proper – where all Level 1 sides now enter – is considered a major achievement. In the , a record eight non-League teams achieved this feat. As of the 2016–17 season, only nine non-League teams have (final 16) since 1945, and only have progressed to the Sixth Round (final 8), during the 2016–17 edition of the tournament. , while playing at of English football during the , were the lowest-ranked team to ever play in the Third Round Proper (final 64, of 731 teams entered that season). Chasetown was then a member of the (a lower level within the ), when they lost to (Level 2) team , the eventual FA Cup runners-up that year. Their success earned the lowly organisation over £60,000 in prize money. matched this in the as a member of the Division One North West, and were drawn against (Level 1) team , whom they lost to 5–0.

Giant killings between League clubs

In games between League sides, one of the most notable results was the by , of the previous season's League (avoiding relegation due to expansion of ), over champions Arsenal. Another similar shock was when beat 2–1 in 2003. Everton finished seventh in the Premier League and Shrewsbury Town were relegated to the Football Conference that same season. Most recently, pulled off a shock, beating 1–0 in the in . Following a defeat to Arsenal 3 days later, Wigan failed to avoid relegation from the Premier League, becoming the first team to win the Cup and succumb to relegation in the same season.

Winners and finalists

Results by team

Since its establishment, the FA Cup has been won by 44 different teams. Teams shown in ''italics'' are no longer in existence. Additionally, ceased to be eligible to enter the FA Cup after a ruling in 1887.

Consecutive winners

Four clubs have won consecutive FA Cups on more than one occasion: (1872, 1873 and 1876, 1877, 1878), (1884, 1885, 1886 and 1890, 1891), (1961, 1962 and 1981, 1982) and (, and , ).

Winning managers

The record for most titles for a manager is held by , who won the FA Cup with Arsenal seven times (, , , , , , ). Wenger is also the only manager to have won the Cup at the old Wembley Stadium, the Millennium Stadium, and the new Wembley Stadium.


(2019) are the only club to have achieved a domestic of league, FA Cup and , having beaten 4–3 on penalties in the , finished at the top of the English , and beaten 6–0 in the FA Cup Final. Seven clubs have won the FA Cup as part of a , namely (1889), (1897), (1961), (1971, 1998, 2002), (1986), (1994, 1996, 1999) and (2010). In 1993, Arsenal became the first side to win both the FA Cup and the in the same season when they beat 2–1 in both finals. Liverpool (in 2001), Chelsea (in 2007) and Manchester City (in 2019) have since repeated this feat. In 2012, Chelsea accomplished a different cup double consisting of the FA Cup and the . In , Manchester United added the title to their league and cup double to complete a unique . Two years later, in , Liverpool won the FA Cup, and to complete a .

Outside England

The FA Cup has only been won by a non-English team once. achieved this in 1927 when they beat Arsenal in the final at Wembley. They had previously made it to the final only to lose to in 1925 and lost another final to in 2008. Cardiff City is also the only team to win the national cups of two different countries in the same season, having also won the in 1927. The Scottish team reached and lost the final in both 1884 and 1885.

Outside the top division

Since the creation of the Football League in 1888, the final has never been contested by two teams from outside the top division, and there have only been eight winners who were not in the top flight: (); (); (); (); (); (), () and (). With the exception of Tottenham, these clubs were all playing in the second tier (the old ) – Tottenham were playing in the and were only elected to the Football League in 1908, meaning they are the only non-League winners of the FA Cup since the League's creation. Other than Tottenham's victory, only have come from outside English football's top tier, with a record of 7 wins and 17 runners-up: and none at all from the third tier or lower, Southampton (, then in the Southern League) being the last finalist from outside the top two tiers. Sunderland's win in 1973 was considered a major upset, having beaten who finished third in the top flight that season, as was West Ham's victory over Arsenal in 1980 as the Gunners were in their third successive FA Cup Final and were also the cup holders from the previous year as well as just having finished 4th in the First Division, whereas West Ham had ended the season 7th in Division 2. This also marked the last time (as of 2018–19) a team from outside the top division won the FA Cup. Uniquely, in three of the four semi-finalists (Barnsley, and West Bromwich) were from outside the top division, although the eventual winner was the last remaining top-flight team, . West Bromwich (1931) are the only team to have won the FA Cup and earned promotion to the top flight in the same season; whereas () are the only team to have won the Cup and been relegated from the top flight in the same season.

Media coverage

Domestic broadcasters

The FA Cup Final is one of 10 events reserved for live broadcast on UK terrestrial television under the . In the early years of coverage the BBC had exclusive radio coverage with a picture of the pitch marked in the with numbered squares to help the listener follow the match on the radio. The first FA Cup Final on Radio was in 1926 between Bolton Wanderers and Manchester City but this was only broadcast in Manchester, the first national final on BBC Radio was between Arsenal and Cardiff in 1927. The first final on BBC Television was in 1937 in a match which featured Sunderland and Preston North End but this was not televised in full. The following season's final between Preston and Huddersfield was covered in full by the BBC. When ITV was formed in 1955 they shared final coverage with the BBC in one of the only club matches shown live on television, during the 1970s and 1980s coverage became more elaborate with BBC and ITV trying to steal viewers from the others by starting coverage earlier and earlier some starting as early as 9 a.m. which was six hours before kick off. The sharing of rights between BBC and ITV continued from 1955 to 1988, when ITV lost coverage to the BBC. From 1988 to 1997, the BBC was the exclusive broadcaster of the competition on terrestrial television and covered the competition from the third round onwards, showing one live match per round alongside highlights. In 1990, BSB obtained rights to the competition, and showed a live match from rounds 1 and 2. This continued to be the case after Sky took over BSB in 1991. From 1997 to 2001, ITV and Sky shared live coverage with both having two matches per round and BBC continuing with highlights on Match of the Day. From 2002 to 2008, BBC and Sky again shared coverage with BBC having two or three matches per round and Sky having one or two. From to , FA Cup matches are shown live by across England and , with broadcasting to but STV refusing to show them. ITV shows 16 FA Cup games per season, including the first pick of live matches from each of the first to sixth rounds of the competition, plus one semi-final exclusively live. The final is also shown live on ITV. Under the same 2008 contract, showed three games and one replay in each round from round three to five, two quarter-finals, one semi-final and the final. The channel also broadcast ITV's matches exclusively to , after the ITV franchise holder in Scotland, , decided not to broadcast FA Cup games. Setanta entered administration in June 2009 and as a result the FA terminated Setanta's deal to broadcast FA-sanctioned competitions and . As a result of Setanta going out of business ITV showed the competition exclusively in the 2009–10 season with between three and four matches per round, all quarter finals, semi-finals and final live as the FA could not find a pay TV broadcaster in time. ESPN bought the competition for the 2010–11 to 2012–13 season and during this time Rebecca Lowe became the first woman to host the FA Cup Final in the UK. In October 2009, The FA announced that ITV would show an additional match in the First and Second Rounds on ITV, with one replay match shown on . One match and one replay match from the first two rounds will broadcast on The FA website for free, in a similar situation to the between and . The 2009–10 First Round match between and was the first FA Cup match to be streamed online live. Many expected to make a bid to show some of the remaining FA Cup games for the remainder of the 2009–10 season which would include a semi-final and shared rights to the final. took over the package Setanta held for the FA Cup from the 2010–11 season. The 2011 final was also shown live on in addition to ESPN (who provided the 3D coverage for Sky 3D) and ITV. Following the sale of ESPN's UK and Ireland channels to , ESPN's rights package transferred to from the 2013–14 season. and provides radio coverage including several full live commentaries per round, with additional commentaries broadcast on . Until the 2008–09 season, the and shared television coverage, with the BBC showing three matches in the earlier rounds. Some analysts argued the decision to move away from the Sky and, in particular, the BBC undermined the FA Cup in the eyes of the public. The early rounds of the 2008–09 competition were covered for the first time by ITV's online service, . The first match of the competition, between Wantage Town and Brading Town, was broadcast live online. Highlights of eight games of each round were broadcast as catch up on ITV Local. Since ITV Local closed, this coverage did not continue. ITV lost the rights to the FA Cup beginning with the , terrestrial rights returned to , with the final being shown on while BT Sport hold the pay TV rights. Under this deal, the BBC will show around the same number of games as ITV and still having the first pick for each round. Matches involving Welsh clubs are sometimes exclusively broadcast on channel , which is also available to view across the rest of the United Kingdom on satellite and cable television, and through the channel's website. A similar arrangement is shared with from 2014 to 2015, potentially giving the BBC an extra match per round. On the 23rd May 2019, it was announced that would replace in broadcasting the FA Cup from the 2021–22 season, this new deal will see and become joint broadcasters of the tournament for the first time since 1990, this will mean for the first time that all FA Cup matches would be all be exclusively broadcast on television.

Overseas broadcasters

The FA sells overseas rights separately from the domestic contract.



External links

The FA Cup Archive
– England's official Football Association site, all results with dates, including all qualifying rounds
The official FA Cup website

Thomas Fattorini Ltd. makers of the 1911 FA Cup
– manufacturers of the 1911 FA Cup and other sporting trophies
FA Cup going under the hammer
– BBC News story on the sale of the second trophy
FA Supporters
– Independent FA Cup Supporters Club {{DEFAULTSORT:Fa Cup Professional sports leagues in the United Kingdom