The FA Cup also known as The Football Association Challenge Cup is not only one of the oldest association football competitions in the world but it’s also provided the model for a more formal structure that permeated throughout the ranks of organised soccer both in England and abroad.
The Football Association was established in 1863 and subsequently went on to codify the game by publishing its first set of laws in the form of the Laws of the Game of Association Football, which effectively unified the various rules which were prevalent before then.
The logical next step was to implement the new laws into a competition format and with that, the Challenge Cup was established with the first iteration taking place in 1871. All of the clubs belonging to the Football Association were invited to participate with only 15 of the 50 soccer clubs heeding the call. Three of the teams eventually withdrew from proceedings and the first ever final kicked off on 16 March 1872.
By the 1888-89 season the modern format of the FA Cup started to take shape with qualifying rounds being introduced. As the soccer tournament grew it also became synonymous with dramatic upsets with the concept of ‘giant-killing’ featuring quite prominently. As a result the tournament’s cup was one of the most desirable piece of silverware and the FA Cup received considerable publicity both in England and abroad.
The FA Cup format
The FA Cup features a total of 14 rounds with the first 6 of these being qualifying rounds, thereafter 6 proper competition rounds are played followed by the semi-finals and the FA Cup final.
Clubs in the top four levels receive an automatic entry, these four levels include the Premier League and the English Football League’s three divisions – the Championship, League One and League Two.
Thereafter, clubs in the next six levels (non-league football) are eligible for entry into the FA Cup provided the club competed in either the FA Cup, FA Trophy or FA Vase tournaments in the previous season and the clubs have a suitable stadium.
The respective teams are scheduled to face one another based on a draw system with the teams participating in the first six qualifying rounds receiving regional draws to ease the travel cost involved.
Thereafter, the random draw for each of the remaining proper rounds is televised. This particular method of determining which teams face each other, offers smaller sides the opportunity of taking on top-flight soccer teams.
The winner of the FA Cup will automatically qualify to participate in the UEFA Europa League, in addition to that the winner will also
The FA Cup winners also qualify for the following season's FA Community Shield, this single-match is contested by the previous season's Premier League champions and the FA Cup winners.
Betting on the FA Cup
South African punters are afforded the luxury of betting on the FA Cup with Sun International’s online sportsbook, Sunbet.
With a wealth of betting markets that range from the simplest 3-way bet all the way to more sophisticated bets such as the Double Chance, every soccer punter is guaranteed to find the perfect bet.
Sunbet also offers all of the popular soccer bets that include, Correct Score, Halftime/Fulltime, European Handicaps, Match Flow and much more.
If that wasn’t enough Sunbet also offer live in-play betting or in-running betting, on a large selection of FA Cup matches giving punters the opportunity of assessing the form of each team whilst the match is being played live. Betting live in-play largely removes the guesswork and minimises the risk in comparison to striking a pre-match soccer bet.
Sunbet is the ideal South African online soccer sportsbook that regularly offers soccer promos and competitions, not forgetting an extensive local and international soccer coupon.