There are hundreds of soccer leagues spread all over the world, and each country has its own understanding and terminology for this beautiful game. With so many factors at play, there are always big questions to answer. however, it is the smallest ones that tend to go unnoticed. these are the types of riddles we at paste seek to answer in our weekly soccer manual.
question: what is the difference between fa cup and league cup?
additional question: why does one seem to be significantly more important than the other?
Reading: Carabao cup vs fa cup
everyone familiar with european football knows the english league and the uefa champions league. Fewer fans might be as familiar with the FA Cup (now the Emirates FA Cup), let alone the League Cup (also known as the Capital One Cup). So what are these last two competencies, why do they exist and why are they really important?
the fa cup of the emirates
The FA Cup is, as any English gentleman worth his salt will tell you, the oldest association football competition in the world. Simply put, it is the oldest club football tournament on the planet. Started in 1871, the FA Cup is now open to all teams competing in the top ten tiers of the English league system (from the giants of the Premier League to the less-than-giants of the Spartan South Midlands League).
This year, a total of 736 clubs (including the six Welsh teams competing in England) have registered for the tournament, which is staged over a total of 14 rounds. the first six rounds, referred to as “the qualifying rounds”, feature the lowest ranked teams in the tournament, with teams from stronger leagues added at each stage. after qualifying comes the “proper” six rounds, which is where the greats show up. clubs from league one and league two reach the first round proper, while teams from the major league and championship don’t enter the fray until the third round.
At the end of this somewhat bloated competition is the FA Cup Final, in which the champions are rewarded with automatic entry into next season’s Europa League, a spot on the Community Shield ( the season-opening friendly between the Premier League and FA Cup winners), and a fair amount of change. in fact, as the daily mail reports, as a result of the three-year, £30m sponsorship deal with emirates airlines, the prize money for winning the tournament this season will exceed £1.8 sterling pounds. million, and that’s without taking into account television revenues. The BBC’s Dan Walker calculated that when Arsenal won the competition in the 2013-2014 season, the club got a combined £4.2 million in prize money and television rights. That may sound like a lot, except Arsenal also earned £93m from the top league and £23m from the Champions League. In fact, revenue from the successful FA Cup campaign accounted for less than 2% of Arsenal’s £302m revenue that year.
Despite this relatively paltry sum, the fa cup remains an attractive piece of silver largely due to its reputation. In its 144-year history, the FA Cup has been won by 43 clubs (two of which no longer exist). since the 1979-1980 season, only 11 clubs have won the competition. Although there are some outliers like Portsmouth (2007-2008 champions) and Wigan (2012-2013), only the bigger clubs tend to win the tournament. Such is his importance that, when Arsene Wenger won the FA Cup in the 2013-14 campaign, it was widely recognized that he had finally shaken off a nine-year-old trophyless monkey. so the fa cup may not pack the biggest financial punch, but it still carries the weight of history behind it.
the capital cup
The league cup has numerous elements in common with its big brother, but it’s the few clear differences that make it “also raced” in terms of cup glory. Although it is a single-elimination tournament played by teams in England and Wales, the League Cup only includes the 92 clubs currently in the top four English leagues. There is something decidedly less inspiring about a tournament involving 92 clubs rather than 736. The tournament itself consists of seven rounds in total, with teams competing in Europe receiving byes until the third round, top league teams entering in the second and the rest of the competing clubs kicking off the first round of action. The eventual champion wins prize money and, as with the FA Cup, automatic qualification for the Europa League.
The league cup is historically less important. The FA Cup was created at a time when there were no unified leagues, so it represented the only way for clubs from different parts of the country to meet. by contrast, the league cup began in 1960 (89 years after its aging counterpart), the result of a determined effort to stem the decline in attendance figures at league matches. the brains behind league cup cleverly pointed out that 1) most clubs in the major leagues had installed flood lights by 1960, 2) league and fa cup games were played on weekends, and 3) those aforementioned lights practically remained inactive the rest of the time.
therefore the league cup was introduced in 1960 specifically as a tournament to be played on weekday nights under bright lights. while this move initially fueled interest, the growth of midweek league games and more attractive European fixtures have now made an already packed schedule even less manageable. therefore, many coaches use the league cup as an opportunity to experiment with new tactics, rest veterans, and debut promising youngsters.
In the 55-year history of the league cup, 23 clubs have been crowned champions. However, the six clubs with the most league cup wins (liverpool, aston villa, chelsea, manchester united, tottenham and nottingham forest) have combined to win the competition 22 times (that’s five more than the next 17 combined). . In fact, the competition could justifiably be called the Ian Rush Cup, given that the Liverpool legend managed to win it on five different occasions.
Finally, there’s the prize money, or relative lack thereof. When Chelsea won the 2014-2015 iteration, the club was rewarded with a staggering £100,000 bounty. For his part, the runner-up Tottenham received 50,000 pounds sterling. to put those figures into an accounting perspective, they make up 0.031% and 0.028% of the club’s total revenue, respectively. To put those numbers into scary perspective, they’re 1/3 and 1/6, respectively, of what Wayne Rooney makes in a week.
While both the FA Cup and League Cup represent valuable and valuable competitions on paper, they have actually become less relevant in recent years (at least for teams competing in the major league). As a result of increasingly lucrative television deals, for the 2014–2015 season all Premier League clubs were guaranteed at least £54.1 million in broadcast fees. After adjusting additional facts and figures, champions Chelsea earned £98.99m, while last-place QPR had to survive on a paltry £64.8m. With so much money flowing into the coffers of the already rich, the miniscule prize money offered by domestic cup competitions is unlikely to do much to interest managers eagerly seeking a higher place in the league table. . last season the difference in prize money between crystal palace’s 10th place and everton’s 11th place was £1.2m. that’s roughly the equivalent of 1/4 of an fa cup or 12 silly league cups.
However, judging the FA Cup solely on its financial contribution to top division clubs is unfair. As noted above, the new sponsorship deal (albeit soulless and sad) includes increased provisions for teams that advance to each stage of the competition. While a few million may not mean much to a Premier League giant, the £12,500 awarded to a non-league side that make it out of qualifying is significant. Plus, while interest in the competition has waned over the years, it remains a celebrated event capable of securing a legacy for even the most unlikely of managers (just ask Harry Redknapp).
by contrast, the future of the league cup is uncertain. many coaches resent it as it represents another opportunity for a critical player to suffer unnecessary injury. Others point out that of Europe’s top five leagues, only England and France have two domestic cup competitions. if the league, bundesliga and serie a are fine with one, why complicate things with another cup?
As a result of these concerns, some experts have proposed alternatives, ranging from adjusting the format of the competition to limit the total number of games, to ending it altogether, or setting age limits on squads to help Let the competition work. as a showcase for rising talent. Although neither of these options would make the league cup a major event, the third possibility would make it far more compelling than the chance to see arsene wenger field a team of players, most of whom he was pretty sure would sold years. does.