The FA Cup, also known officially as The Football Association Challenge Cup, is an annual knockout football competition in men’s domestic English football. First played during the 1871–72 season, it is the oldest national football competition in the world. It is organised by and named after The Football Association (The FA).
The competition is open to any eligible club down to Level 10 of the English football league system – all 92 professional clubs in the Premier League (Level 1) and the English Football League (Levels 2 to 4), and several hundred “non-league” teams in Steps 1 to 6 of the National League System (Levels 5 to 10). The tournament consists of 12 randomly drawn rounds followed by the semi-finals and the final.
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 Leagues One and Two. The last entrants are the Premier League and Championship clubs, into the draw for the Third Round Proper. 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 Europa League and a place in the FA Community Shield match. Manchester City are the current holders, having beaten Watford 6–0 in the 2019 final. Arsenal are the most successful club with 13 titles. Arsène Wenger is the most successful manager in the history of the competition, having won seven finals as manager of Arsenal.
Beginning in August, the competition proceeds as a knockout tournament 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 seeding, the fixtures in each round being determined by a random draw.
List of clubs that have won the FA Cup most times, concerning the period 1872-2019
Manchester United 12
Tottenham Hotspur 9
Aston Villa 7
Blackburn Rovers 6
Newcastle United 6
Manchester City 6
West Bromwich Albion 5
All the winners and runners-up trough the years (2019- 2010) of the FA Cup.
Season Winner Runner-up
2018-2019 Manchester City Watford
2017-2018 Chelsea Manchester United
2016-2017 Arsenal Chelsea
2015-2016 Manchester United Crystal Palace
2014-2015 Arsenal Aston Villa
2013-2014 Arsenal Hull City
2012-2013 Wigan Athletic Manchester City
2011-2012 Chelsea Liverpool
2010-2011 Manchester City Stoke City
The 2019–20 FA Cup (also known as the Football Association Challenge Cup) will be the 139th edition of the oldest football tournament in the world. It will be sponsored by Emirates and known as The Emirates FA Cup. In addition, Premier League side Manchester City are the defending champions. The dates for the 2019/20 Emirates FA Cup have been released with the competition starting in earnest in August and finishing with the show-piece final at Wembley in May 2020.
Extra Preliminary Round – Saturday 10th August 2019
Preliminary Round – Saturday 24th August 2019
First Qualifying Round – Saturday 7th September 2019
Second Qualifying Round – Saturday 21st September 2019
Third Qualifying Round – Saturday 5th October 2019
Fourth Qualifying Round – Saturday 19th October 2019
First Round Proper – Saturday 9th November 2019
Second Round Proper – Saturday 30th November 2019
Third Round Proper – Saturday 4th January 2019
Fourth Round Proper – Saturday 25th January 2019
Fifth Round Proper – Wednesday 4th March 2019
Quarter Final – Saturday 21st March 2019
Semi Final – Saturday 18th April 2019
Final – Saturday 23rd May 2019
Over the past twenty years, the competition has been dominated by the top teams in the English Premier League despite their habit of fielding weakened teams. Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United are all recent winners of the competition, and only two major shocks have been seen over the last 10 years. Then Premier League side Portsmouth were unexpected winners in 2003, while Wigan Athletic beat Manchester City in the 2013 FA Cup final – only to be relegated from the Premier League just days later.
Nowadays, such surprises have become much less common, and for this reason the tournament is largely falling out of favour with the English public. Still, the draw can be decisive in this competition – top teams can be drawn against each other and shocks can happen. It’s not often the final is contested by two teams outside of the top six, but stranger things have happened in the FA Cup.
Manchester City added the FA Cup to their collection of trophies in 2019, having completed the domestic treble for the season. They beat Watford 6-0 in the Final at Wembley in May, the sixth time that they won this prestigious English football competition.
Still, that is not to say that we will not see a surprise winner in the upcoming season – anything can happen in the FA Cup.
Link to FA CUP