After the third round of the FA Cup was played, many audiences were left upset over the type of game that was offered and quality produced.
Teams such as Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool were all broadcast in the UK for their first game in the cup whereas lower league teams that had been in the competition for longer were given little coverage.
Audiences also take issue with some of the team selections made by top-flight teams, with particular reference given to Liverpool’s youngest ever side which faced League Two Plymouth with the game finishing 0-0.
This has led some fans to argue that the magic of the FA Cup, a forefront theme of the competition for so many years, is beginning to lose its touch.
Dr. Alex Jackson, collections officer at the National Football Museum Manchester, spoke of the change in priority to the Premier League in years gone by from top-flight teams.
“In the 20th century, clubs in the top division would regularly save their strongest team for the FA Cup, knowing that it would generate more money for them than a general league fixture,” he said.
“But now, what we’re seeing is increased worldwide interest in the Premier League as a result of broadcasting and that shift has meant teams’ focus has moved from the cup fixtures to the league instead.
“What makes the FA Cup special is the underdog, but now with the success of Leicester City we’re seeing that magic occur more in the Premier League, and broadcasters are reacting to that.”
It is undoubted that the FA Cup holds a special place with fans across the country.
The opportunity for a team in any division to get a chance to face some of the world’s greatest players from the third round onwards is one that competitions around the world struggle to replicate.
But with increasing pressure on Premier League clubs to perform in the division, particularly in qualification for the Champions League due to massive financial windfall it can generate, the lure of an FA Cup run is one that could potentially start to dissipate for some of those top teams.