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FA Stand By 515pm Cup Final Kick Off
Football Association chairman Greg Dyke today confirmed that the FA Cup final will continue to be staged at 5.15pm, despite strong opposition to the later kick-off time.
It was announced at Wembley Stadium this morning that the competition will be televised by the BBC and BT Sport, who have secured four-year shared rights beginning in 2014.
Fans hoping that the change in broadcaster from ITV would result in the final being restored to its traditional 3pm slot will be disappointed, however.
Dyke stressed that the later time - which sparked fierce protest from supporters travelling south to attend last season's showpiece between Wigan and Manchester City - is a necessity of the modern game's commercial landscape.
"The final will continue to be held in late afternoon, which is where it's been moved to," Dyke said.
"I'm certainly happy with that because if you look at the viewing figures for the past two FA Cup finals they were much bigger than they would have been had the match kicked off at 3pm.
"The world changed and we had to change with it."
ITV has negotiated the exclusive rights to England games from 2014-18. The broadcaster had already won England's World Cup and European Championship qualification fixtures from UEFA and has now secured all home and away friendly internationals.
Precariously positioned in their World Cup qualifying campaign, England's place at Brazil next summer is far from guaranteed, but Dyke is confident they will be involved.
"I think we will qualify for the World Cup. It would be pretty awful if we didn't, but I think we will," he said.
Dyke was speaking for the first time since replacing David Bernstein as chairman last Saturday, but the 66-year-old refused to elaborate on his plans for the FA.
"I will outline my top priority in the next few weeks, but clearly there are some issues in English football that need to be sorted and that's what we'll try to do," he said.
"I won't say any more just now, but I will outline them one at a time over a period of time."
Dyke welcomed the FA Cup's return to the BBC for the first time since 2008 and stressed that the competition still had an important role to play in club football despite the continual growth of the Premier League.
"Financially it's quite a jump in money from this year to the next, but also the fact that it's going on the BBC means there will be a lot of coverage across many outlets that help promote the FA Cup," he said.
"We've also got a pay deal with BT, which we're pleased about. Remember, all the money from the FA Cup goes back into football, it doesn't go to players' wages.
"There was some fairly intense competition for the rights, but they've ended up where we expected them to.
"I believe the FA Cup is still the greatest club cup competition in the world and you saw all the romance of it last year when Wigan won after beating the multi-million pound Manchester City team.
"The FA Cup operates in a different context to the Premier League. Last year I was chairman at Brentford, who went to play at Chelsea.
"That was so exciting and you can't explain what it meant to the fans. The FA Cup belongs to the fans."
Source: Manchester City MAD
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