How the FA Cup saved football? – Lewes Community Football Club

How the FA Cup saved football?

Club news


Till now, we have focussed on the crazy disparity between the £30.25m allocated to the men’s competition versus the £309k left over for the Women’s FA Cup.

However, the current COVID-19 crisis has meant that almost all men’s and women’s clubs (outside the Premier League) face an urgent financial crisis


If there is not some kind of central solution very very soon, then it’s clear that an awful lot of men’s and women’s clubs will go out of business. Because when you play a football match behind closed doors (or with much-reduced crowds) your revenue is decimated, whilst your costs remain fixed. This is a recipe for insolvency.

So our latest proposal asks for FA Cup prize money to be shifted away from Premier League clubs* to all the other clubs who really need it.

* Actually, only FOUR Premier League clubs (winners of this year’s Quarter Finals) would even be affected.

Watch this 5-minute explainer video and you’ll see what we mean…

The detailed round-by-round re-allocation that we’re proposing looks like this

Here are some notes on it:

FA Cup ‘For All’

A recommendation for a different allocation of FA Cup Prize Funds for the 2020/21 Season to give urgent financial support to lower league and women’s football clubs.

The Problem

As a result of Covid-19, the whole of football is in distress.  But in particular, smaller and grassroots clubs, and the majority of women’s football clubs, are in significant financial peril. Without urgent action, clubs will go under or go into a season-long hibernation.

Football is perceived as wealthy enough to rescue itself and not call on Government funds. However, this wealth is concentrated in the highest tier of football, not across the whole football ecosystem of men’s and women’s football.

FA Cup prize money mostly goes to those who need it least – it is in  no way redistributive as per the FA’s ‘For All’ remit: In the last 5 seasons alone, only Premier League teams have won prize money awarded in the final three rounds of the men’s FA Cup, amounting to 45% of the entire prize pot.  In total, last season, Premier League clubs received 67% of the entire prize fund.

STOP PRESS: The FA has recently announced its intention to HALVE the total prize money, but still distribute it mostly to the final rounds where, inevitably Premier league clubs will be the beneficiaries.

The Solution

1.The total FA Cup prize fund (men’s + women’s) should be kept at £30.6 million via a £14.4m contribution from the Government – note that on Monday 3rd August, the FA had announced it was cutting £14.4m from its usual total prize fund.

2.Reallocation of the full £30.6m prize fund to the points of most need can mitigate the financial crisis being felt across football (outside the men’s Premier League).

3.Specifically, the prize money that has historically been paid to winners and runners up of the Final, Semi-Final and Quarter-Final of the men’s FA Cup (total: £13.68 million) should be used instead to significantly increase the prize funds in the earlier rounds of the men’s FA Cup, and to significantly increase the prize funds across the entire women’s FA Cup.  The £13.68 million in prize money for these three rounds can be divided equally between the earlier rounds of the men’s competition (before the 3rd round proper when Premier League and Championship teams enter the competition), and the women’s FA Cup.

A recommended round-by-round allocation has been calculated. In summary, here’s what it does:

For the men’s competition, under this recommendation:

1.Winners in the first four rounds (Extra Preliminary Round through Second Round Qualifying) will win double the prize money that they did last season

a.This exclusively benefits non-League clubs

2.Losers in the first five qualifying rounds will now also receive funds, at a rate of half the amounts of the winners of those rounds

a.Currently, only the first two qualifying rounds allocate funds to the losing team

b.This exclusively benefits non-League clubs

3.Winners in the next four rounds (Third Round Qualifying through Second Round Proper) will win 1.5x the prize money that they did last season.

a.This exclusively benefits both non-League clubs and Football League clubs beyond the Championship and Premier League i.e. League One and League Two.

4.Winners in the next three rounds (Third Round Proper through Fifth Round Proper) will win the same prize money that they did last season

a.This leaves almost every Premier League and Championship club unaffected, except for four teams…

5.Prizes will not be paid for the last three rounds of the men’s FA Cup (Quarter Final through to the Final)

a.Only four clubs are affected by this change

b.In the last 5 seasons, only Premier League clubs would have been affected

For the women’s competition, under this recommendation:

1.Prizes in the first three rounds (Extra Preliminary Round through First Round Qualifying) will be the same (for both winners and losers) as in the men’s competition

aThis will create a guaranteed and significant cash injection to all 300 women’s teams who take part in the FA Cup, whether they win or lose their match

2.Prizes for winning the last two prize-winning rounds of the women’s competition (the Semi-Final and Final) will be the same as the prizes for winning the last two prize-winning rounds of the men’s competition (will be, Fourth Round and Fifth Round)

The Impact

1.736 clubs contest the men’s FA Cup, and 300 clubs contest the women’s FA Cup, a total of 1,036 clubs. 992 (96%) of those clubs will be guaranteed to be better off under this proposal, a further 40 (Championship plus 16 Premier League clubs) will be unaffected, and just 4 (Premier League clubs reaching the Semi-Finals) will be worse off.  So, 0.4% of the wealthiest clubs will be worse off and 96% of clubs will be better off (3.6% unaffected)

2.The Premier League will be helping to fund the rest of the Football Family, but by just four clubs foregoing some FA Cup prize money and only for the latter stages

a.Note: In the German Bundesliga, four of the top clubs donated (£18m) to men’s lower league and women’s clubs to help them through the Covid-19 crisis

3.In the 28 years since the men’s Premier League started, the FA Cup has always been won by a Premier League club.  In 25 of those years, the FA Cup has been won by one of the big five: Man United, Man City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool.

4.Even the lowliest men’s Premier League club receives more than £100 million per year just in money from TV revenues.  When a Premier League club wins the FA Cup, the prize money will be a low single digit percentage of its current revenue.

5.In contrast, the prize amounts in this proposal would be genuinely transformational and life-saving for lower League clubs and women’s clubs

6.FA will be fulfilling its remit to be ‘For All’ by helping those members of the Football Family most in need

7.Top Premier League clubs will be playing their part in contributing non-guaranteed prize funds to the lower levels of the sport

8.Government will be playing their part by in effect match-funding the Premier League’s contribution (in foregone prize money)

9.This plan will deliver on the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport’s promise [30th May, Daily Briefing] “that the financial benefits of [the Premier League] returning would be shared throughout the entire football family….and… release much needed funding to support clubs lower down many of whom are cornerstones of their local communities.”