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FSF attack FA Cup revamp plans

Mon 14th Feb 2011 | Club & Country Competitions

The Football Association has come under fire after it revealed plans to revamp its FA Cup competition.

The Football Supporters’ Federation (FSF) chairman, Malcolm Clarke ahs voiced his concern that football fans have been left out of the initial proposals carried by an independent think tank.  

“The best people to be inside this think-tank are the supporters who the FA is relying on to pay the money to watch the games,” Clarke told the Telegraph newspaper.

“As it is, we feel like we are looking into the tank from outside the glass. If they want our support, this is not the way to go about things. It is a huge own goal.”

Clarke, believed that he had been assured at the most recent FA Council meeting that he would have the chance to involve his 180,000 members before the ideas went public for wider consultation.

The FA has long been looking at ways in which to revive the 140 year old cup competition which has seen its prestige amongst some England’s bigger clubs diminish over the years as they focus on the Champions League.  

However, the FA says it is committed to consulting widely with fans and stresses that the suggestions have not yet been published or formally adopted as definite proposals.

Ideas thought to be in consideration are the moving of kick-off times to 5.30pm and the abolition of replays which Clarke expects fans to be opposed to.

He does, however, think that there could be backing for the idea of introducing seeding so as to have more clashes between Premier League clubs and the so-called ‘minnows’.

Clarke also believes that the potential introduction of a Champions League place for the FA Cup winners would encourage leading clubs to field stronger teams in the competition. This is unlikely to be popular with Premier League club.

Suggestions also included regional matches until the fifth round and a reduction in ticket prices. The earliest date for the introduction of any changes to the FA Cup will be the 2012-13 season.

That would coincide with a new television deal, with broadcasters understood to be particularly keen on a 5.30pm kick-off for the final.

“We recognise the need to revitalise the competition but we would need to see the whole package of ideas and consult our members,” said Clarke.

 

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