The FA Cup Final was first initiated back in 1871 and is open to all teams from the Premier League, the Championship and in rungs 1-5 of the FA National League System.
The first few rounds of the FA Cup are contested between teams from the lower end of the Football Leagues, with teams being introduced from higher football leagues as the FA Cup progresses. It isn't until the third round, however, that the biggest teams take part.
From 1923 the Final was held at Wembley, the English national stadium up until the year 2000. Rebuilding started on the new Wembley so in the mean time (2001-2005) the Final was held at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.
As from 2006 the Final has been held at the New Wembley and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future.
The format for the Final is two halves of 45 minutes, if the game ends in a draw a further 30 minutes is played (15 minutes each way). Should the score remain level then the game moves to a penalty shoot out.
The record for the most wins in the FA Cup Final is held jointly by Arsenal & Manchester United with 11 trophies each. Arsenal will be in the final again in 2015 so would be hoping to add to their tally although Aston Villa are the team to try and stop them.
In recent years, there has been an upsurge in attendances, and FA Cup tickets can be very highly sought after by supporters and neutrals alike, especially for games involving rival teams such as Manchester United v Manchester City, Liverpool v Everton, or Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal.
Ties are created by a simple draw of lots, with the team who will play at home being drawn out first of all, and the team which will play against them being drawn immediately after.
Due to the nature of this arrangement, it can mean that FA Cup tickets for certain ties are valued highly, due to the scarcity of their availability, especially so when a team with a large travelling support are drawn away from home to a team with a small stadium capacity.
The FA Cup is well known for the number of surprises that occur each year, and each year there will undoubtedly be teams which will be embarrassed by lesser known football teams. This element of surprise is just one of the ways in which the FA Cup provides outstanding entertainment for fans of all teams.
The winners of the FA Cup automatically qualify for the Europa League, even if the club gets relegated as happened with Wigan Athletic when they won the competition in 2013. The winner also qualifies to play in the Community Shield against the winner of the Premier League which is held at Wembley Stadium also, generally in August.
All in all the FA Cup is the oldest association football competition in the world and still one of the most popular domestic cup competitions on the planet.
Last Updated : Thursday, October 01, 2015